The JSE paused its significant downtrend on Tuesday as earlier gains from financials and resources saw the local bourse trade mostly flat.
The minor strength on the JSE was also aided by a rebound in European counters as well us equity futures which traded mostly firmer on the day despite a weaker trading session earlier in Asia. Local financials were buoyant on the back of a firmer rand which rebounded following weakness in the prior session.
In terms of local economic data there was some disappointment as Statistics SA released South Africa's first quarter unemployment rate data.
The unemployment rate for the period increased to 27.6% from a prior recording of 27.1%, further indicating how the South African is struggling to expand and create jobs.
The rand was more reactive of the trends in other emerging market currencies which strengthened against the greenback. The rand peaked at a session high of R14.19/$ before it was recorded trading 0.74% firmer at R14.22/$ at 17:00.
FirstRand [JSE:FSR] managed to gain 0.23% to close at R68.22, while ABSA Group firmed 1.31% to close at R170.70.
Of the day’s losers, EOH Holdings [JSE:EOH] came under pressure as it fell 5.56% to close at R21.07, while Murray & Roberts [JSE:MUR] also closed amongst the day’s biggest losers after dropping 5.93% to close at R14.11.
Retailer, Pepkor Holdings lost 4.92% to close at R18.32, while Massmart Holdings [JSE:MSM] dropped 1.9% to close at R84.37.
Other significant losses on the day were recorded for Bidvest [JSE:BVT] which lost 3.83% to close at R210.50, Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] which retreated 2.77% to close at R402.00 despite releasing a positive trading statement, and Nedbank [JSE:NED] which fell 2.21% to close at R268.67.
The JSE All-Share index eventually closed 0.09% weaker while the blue-chip JSE Top-40 index closed 0.03% lower.
All the major indices eventually closed weaker as gains were relinquished towards the close. Industrials lost 0.12%, Resources dropped 0.22%, and Financials closed 0.02% weaker.
At 17:00, Gold was 0.3% weaker at $1295.98/oz, Platinum was 0.08% firmer at $854.05/oz, and Palladium had lost 0.2% to close at $1319.60/oz.
Brent crude has remained buoyant and as it advanced further in today’s session. It was trading 1.1% firmer at $71.00/barrel just after the JSE close.