The local bourse inched higher on Wednesday as global stocks took a breather following consecutive sessions of weakness.
The rebound in global stocks was primarily on the back of a jolt in crude oil prices following extensive declines since Monday. Strong gains were primarily recorded in Europe and the USA where stocks rose by more than 1% on average.
The outlook was rather mixed in Asia where the Nikkei shed 0.74%, while the Shanghai Composite Index and the Hang Seng inched up 0.82% and 0.42% respectively.
Locally, Statistics South Africa released inflation data for the month of March which came in lower than anticipated. CPI YoY which was recorded at 4.1% from a prior recording of 4.6%, while CPI MoM was recorded at 0.3% from a prior recording of 0.5%.
On the back of this data the rand traded at R18.71/$, however, by 17:00 CAT it was at R18.94/$.
On the JSE, Sibanye Stillwater [JSE:SSW] released its suite of annual statements and a no change statement, which saw the stock rally 9.49% to close at R32.30. Gold miners were buoyant in Wednesday's session led by gains in Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] which advanced 9.16% to close at R133.60, as well as Harmony Gold [JSE:HAR] which climbed 6.21% to close at R57.83.
Retailers advanced on the back of the firmer rand as gains were recorded for The Foschini Group [JSE:TFG] which added 2.88% to close at R75.40, and Pick n Pay [JSE:PIK] which advanced 3.34% to close at R59.09. Mining giant Anglo American PLC [JSE:AGL] rose 1.14% to close at R315.05, while BHP Group [JSE:BHP] advanced 1.44% to close at R293.25. Sasol [JSE:SOL] also staged a recovery as it closed at R58.84 after gaining 6.94%.
Zeder Investments [JSE:ZED] was trading ex-special dividend on Wednesday, therefore it declined 57.32% to close at R1.75. Listed property stocks constituted the bulk of the day's biggest losers as declines were recorded for Intu Properties [JSE:ITU] which fell 11.02% to close at R1.13, Emira Property Fund [JSE:EMI] which lost 8.83% to close at R6.40, and Growthpoint Properties [JSE:GRT] which closed at R13.00 after losing 4.97%.
As for financials, Standard Bank [JSE:SBK] lost 4.26% to close at R92.57, and Nedbank [JSE:NED] lost 3% to close at R87.59. Losses were also recorded for Exxaro Resources [JSE:EXX] which lost 3.03% to close at R102.31, and for Discovery Ltd [JSE:DSY] which closed at R80.30 after losing 2.3%.
The JSE All-share index eventually closed 1.01% firmer while the JSE Top-40 index gained 1.17%. The financials index came under pressure as it lost 1.15%, while the industrials and resources indices gained 0.54% and 3.14% respectively.
The recovery in brent crude prices saw the commodity trading 7.04% higher at $20.69/barrel just after the JSE close.
At 17:00 CAT, platinum was flat at $748.97/Oz, palladium was up 0.94% at $1 949.87/Oz, and gold had gained 1.32% to trade at $1 708.68/Oz.
* Musa Makoni is a trading specialist at Purple Group.