The local bourse struggled for direction on Friday eventually closing firmer after a muted session.
In general, global equities slowed down after consecutive sessions of significant gains, with declines stretching from Asia through to Europe. US markets also cooled after reaching new all-time highs on Thursday, with the S&P 500 index opening marginally weaker while the Dow Jones barely inched higher.
The rand remained relatively steady after the state of the nation address on Thursday.
The local currency failed to extend its gains as it slid to a session low of R14.44/$ on Friday before retracing to trade 0.01% firmer at R14.31/$ at 17:00.
On the JSE, gains were modest for blue-chip counters with gains being recorded for MTN Group [JSE:MTN] which gained 2.29% to close at R110.32, while Aspen Pharmacare [JSE:APN] rose by 1.61% to close at R104.47.
PPC Limited [JSE:PPC] closed amongst the day’s biggest gainers as it gained 3.29% to close at R5.03 following the release of a positive trading statement for the year ended 31 March 2019.
Rand sensitive stocks retreated as the rand held steady following consecutive gains in prior sessions.
Shoprite Holdings [JSE:SHP] struggled significantly on the day as it fell 6.36% to close at R163.50, Pick n Pay [JSE:PIK] lost 1.69% to close at R69.80, and FirstRand [JSE:FSR] dropped 1.29% to close at R70.48.
Index heavyweight Naspers [JSE:NPN] lost momentum towards the close as it closed 1.05% lower at R3441.59.
Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] gave back some of the prior session’s gains as it lost 0.79% to close at R482.53, while Stadio Holdings fell 7.88% to close at R3.04.
The JSE All-Share index eventually closed 0.34% firmer while the JSE Top-40 index managed to gain 0.35%.
The Financials index retreated marginally to close 0.12% weaker, while the Industrials and Resources indices gained 0.345 and 0.475 respectively.
Brent crude continued to advance on the back of trade escalations between the USA and China, as well as OPEC’s continued commitment to extending production cuts.
Brent crude was trading at 1.15% firmer at $65.22/barrel just after the JSE close.
At 17:00, Platinum was 0.32% weaker at $804.70/oz, Palladium was up 1.6% to trade at $1510.20/oz, and Gold was 0.15% firmer at $1391.03/oz.