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16 July 08:13

Asian markets lower on growth, virus concerns

Asian markets edged lower on Friday as investors weighed concerns over economic growth and virus outbreaks and risk aversion set in following dovish comments from the Federal Reserve chief.

Fed Chair Jay Powell reiterated the central bank's plan to maintain stimulus initiatives until the economy fully recovers while Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that inflation would remain elevated for months to come."I think we will have several more months of rapid inflation, so I'm not saying that this is a one-month phenomenon," Yellen said during an interview on CNBC after US markets closed.


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16 July 08:09

Richemont sees rocketing sales 

Richemont has reported strong sales for the three months to end June - with more than 120% compared to a year ago.Its jewellery units and the specialist watchmakers, saw sales growth of more than 130%.

The Americas saw the strongest regional performance, with sales rocketing by 276%, followed by the Middle East and Africa with sales up by 154%. 

Sales were also higher than pre-Covid levels, with growth of 22% compared to the same quarter in 2019. But sales in Europe contracted by 15%, due to the halt in tourist sales.

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15 July 16:44

Six Redefine properties hit by looting

Redefine confirmed that five of its properties in KwaZulu Natal - Ushekela Industrial Park, Cato Ridge Distribution Centre, the Scottsville Mall, Isipingo Junction and 320 West Street - and one property in Gauteng - Chris Hani Crossing in Vosloorus (which it co-owns) - were looted and damaged. 

“Attempts to loot Maponya Mall and certain of our other malls in Gauteng were fortunately thwarted, but all building management remains on high alert.”

Redefine says approximately 2% (by value) of its property portfolio has been affected, “although the quantum of the damage remains uncertain at this time”. 

15 July 08:50

Rand back on firmer ground after riot shock

The rand has strengthened by almost 2% to around R14.48/$, R17.14/€ and R20.04/£ this morning following big losses triggered by unrest in South Africa, as well as higher-than-expected inflation data in the US.

Following two days of losses, the rand clawed back some ground, mostly attributed to the weaker dollar, says Bianca Botes, director at Citadel Global. 

"The dollar gave back some of its recent gains yesterday, as the shock of higher-than-expected inflation wore off. The local unrest appeared calmer yesterday as additional army troops are being deployed to contain the rioting and looting."


15 July 08:43

Standard Bank launches buyout offer for Liberty

Standard Bank, which already has a 54% stake in Liberty Holdings, has announced an offer to buy out all its shareholders.It wants to own 100% of Liberty, which will result in the company being delisted from the JSE and becoming a wholly-owned Standard Bank subsidiary.

Liberty shareholders are offered R25.50 in cash per share, together with 0.5 Standard Bank shares per Liberty share held. The offer is almost 33% higher than Wednesday’s share price.

In a statement, Standard Bank said that it has long enjoyed a strategic relationship with Liberty, thanks to a "highly successful and valuable bancassurance arrangement". It now wants to offer "an increasingly wide range of financial and associated services".

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14 July 19:33

Six of Vukile Property Fund's shopping centres damaged in civil unrest

Vukile Property Fund says six of its shopping centres have suffered damage due to civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng over the past few days.

In Kwazulu-Natal, four properties have been affected are Durban Workshop, Pinetown Pine Crest, Hammarsdale Junction, KwaMashu Shopping Centre.

In Gauteng, two properties have been affected are Daveyton Shopping Centre and Soweto Dobsonville Mall. 

"Although the quantum of the damage is uncertain at this time, it does appear that most of the damage is concentrated around shopfronts and equipment with only two properties being Pinetown Pine Crest and KwaMashu Shopping Centre having suffered fire damage at this stage," it said in a notice to shareholders.

Additional private security has been deployed to all affected and high-risk sites. It added that it would seek to claim from insurer Sasria.

Dipula Income Fund - a real estate investment trust - also issued a shareholder notice indicating that 12 properties within its portfolio - or 6% - had been affected by the civil unrest.

"The properties include 10 retail centres in Gauteng and two in KwaZulu-Natal," the notice read. The damage is being assessed. 

"In the case of Meadow Point, Dobson Point, Tsakane Corner, Kopanong Tembisa, Sam Sekoti and Orange Farm, the damage appears to be substantial but not structural in nature. For the sake of safety, these centres have ceased trading for the time being," the notice read.

Dipula said it is sufficiently insured. Other retail centres within its portfolio are trading with additional security. 

14 July 16:47

Sappi closes three mills, warns exports will be disrupted 

Sappi has closed three of its mills, and warned that its exports will be affected as riots and looting disrupted services.  

"(As) a precaution due to transport disruptions impacting raw material supplies, warehousing and customer deliveries, the Sappi Saiccor, Tugela and Stanger Mills in KwaZulu-Natal temporarily ceased production as of Monday 12 July. They will resume once it is safe and practical to do so."

Sappi’s forestry operations are being reviewed on a daily basis, but there has been no material damage to any of the plants. Insurance is in place for all assets.

Global shipments to customers through the Port of Durban have also been impacted due to limitations in service, logistics and closure of warehouse service providers.

14 July 11:03

 Foreigners dump SA shares, but rand-hedges jump

South African stocks rose, led by companies that derive much of their income abroad and benefit from weakness in the local currency, as authorities grappled with a wave of unrest in two key provinces that has left more than 70 people dead.

The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index was 1.1% higher as of 10:09 a.m. in Johannesburg, with rand-hedge giants BHP Group Plc, Richemont, Anglo American Plc and Naspers prominent in the advance after the currency slipped to its lowest level against the dollar since April.

South Africans are expected to face major food shortages, as rioters upend supply chains by looting supermarkets and torching goods trucks.

Negative foreign sentiment toward South African stocks was evident in the large outflows recorded Tuesday, with non-residents selling R4 billion of local equities, the most since November last year.

Luxury goods retailer and popular rand-hedge Richemont advanced 1.2% to a record.

- Bloomberg

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14 July 07:21

Retailers left bleeding by riots, rand hit by sharp shock

The rand was trading at R14.75 - almost 3% weaker than a day ago - as widespread looting and unrest gripped South Africa. A stronger-than-expected US inflation number also hurt the currency.

Retailers, which were forced to stop trading due to the looting, saw sharp losses on Tuesday, with Massmart down almost 8%, and Mr Price, Pepkor and Truworths more than 5% weaker.


13 July 15:11

Rand slumps by 3% on riots, US inflation spike

By Tuesday afternoon, the rand was down 3% to R14.66/$ on Tuesday afternoon as rioting and violence continued in South Africa. 

The death toll of the violent unrest gripping KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng is rising, with officials putting the death toll at at least 45 people dead in both provinces. Many businesses including Telkom and Clicks have closed their stores to prevent looting.

Absa and Nedbank tanked by almost 5%, while retailers like Massmart (-6%) are also bleeding.

The rand was also hit by higher-than-expected US inflation data, surging by the strongest rate since 2008. The US consumer price index jumped 0.9% in June and 5.4% from the same month in 2020. This may force US monetary authorities to hike US interest rates earlier than expected, which will make the rand less appealing to foreign investors.

13 July 11:17

Chinese tech stocks jump after Tencent gets deal approval

Hong Kong-listed Chinese tech stocks rose the most in nearly three weeks on Tuesday as official approval for a Tencent acquisition eased investor concerns about Beijing’s recent regulatory crackdown.

Tencent’s purchase of search engine developer Sogou was approved by China’s anti-monopoly regulator, according to a statement on the website of the State Administration for Market Regulation.

The Hang Seng Tech Index jumped 1.9% - its biggest gain since June 25 - while Tencent climbed 3.9%. The gauge of the city’s tech stocks had fallen as much as 10% this month after China vowed to increase scrutiny over data collection and overseas listings.

"Regulators are still considering each deal case by case and not rejecting all of them. The sentiment is not that negative now," said Castor Pang, head of research at Core Pacific Yamaichi. "Any good news will trigger buying on dips in the sector."

Elsewhere, internet giant Meituan rose 3.4% after Caijing reported Monday that the company relaunched a ride-hailing app after industry leader Didi Chuxing was barred from offering new downloads. Short-video streaming platform Kuaishou Technology jumped 5.7% and Alibaba Group gained 4%.

13 July 07:05

US stocks hit record levels

The Dow flirted with its first-ever close above 35 000 points Monday as US stocks turned in another record-filled session ahead of a heavy schedule of earnings releases and economic reports.

The blue-chip index finished at 34 996.18, a gain of 0.4%. The index was just above 35 000 points at the 2000 GMT closing bell, but settled under the benchmark after the close.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.4% to 4 384.63, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.2% to 14 733.24.

All three major indices finished at records, reflecting how optimism over the economic recovery has offset worries about inflation and the Delta variant of Covid-19.

Investors are geared up for a heady earnings season, beginning Tuesday with reports from JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. The period is expected to be the second strongest quarter in the last 25 years, according to CFRA Research's Sam Stovall.

- AFP

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12 July 20:51

Rand, retailers slump amid riots

The rand was trading at R14.42/$ on Monday evening - more than 1% lower than Friday. It weakened to around R14.50 during the day, as rioting and violence unnerved investors. 

The JSE's All Share Index was up 1.4% - due in part to the weaker currency, which benefited rand-hedge shares. Retailers were bleeding as shops were looted. Massmart, which owns Makro and Game, fell 2%, while Pepkor was down more than 3%. 

The violent protests shuttered businesses and disrupted transport networks in the nation’s two richest provinces, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. 

"It is difficult to tell which is the greater emergency in South Africa right now: the riots, which have resulted in significant property damage, looting and affected the movements of goods along an important trade corridor, or the continued spread of Covid-19," Siobhan Redford, an analyst at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg, said in a client note. "It will be important to see the government take action."

- Fin24 and Bloomberg

12 July 17:40

Braai maker Weber heads to Wall Street 

The US firm Weber, the maker of braai grills, filed for an initial public offering.

The Palatine, Illinois-based company put down a listing size of $100 million, a placeholder that is likely to change, according to its Monday filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Weber could seek a valuation of $4 billion to $6 billion in an IPO, Bloomberg News reported on Sunday.

Weber’s IPO paperwork comes after rival Traeger filed last week to go public, also on the New York Stock Exchange. As people have been spending more time at home during the pandemic, sales of home goods have soared - even big ticket items like Weber’s grills.

Weber reported $963 million in sales in the six months through March, a jump of more than 60% from the same period last year. Its net income rose to $73.8 million from $23.6 million over the same period.

Weber launched its first grill in 1952.

Since 2010, it’s been majority owned by BDT Capital Partners, the Chicago-based investment firm and merchant bank founded and led by Byron Trott.

- Bloomberg

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12 July 16:22

FNB, Standard Bank, MTN and others close branches in Gauteng, KZN amid riots

Standard Bank and FNB have closed branches in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, along with Vodacom, MTN and others. Rioters have been torching trucks and looting stores.

The impact of the riots has delivered a further blow to industries already contending with lockdown restrictions.

South Africa’s largest companies were among those forced to halt operations as some of the worst protests since the end of white minority rule erupted in parts of the country, with rioters torching trucks and looting stores.

The nation’s biggest four lenders led by Standard Bank and First National Bank all closed branches in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the companies said in emailed responses to questions Monday.

Massmart-owned Game and Makro and mobile-phone giants Vodacom and MTN were among others to shutter outlets, while the latter is running its main call centre at minimal capacity.


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12 July 10:18

KZN, Gauteng riots hit rand 

Despite a weaker dollar, the rand came under pressure on Monday. It was last trading at R14.34/$, from around R14.20 on Friday.

Andre Cilliers, currency strategist at TreasuryONE, says it appears as if political protest and violence are weighing on the local currency. 

The protests started in KwaZulu-Natal after former president Jacob Zuma was taken into custody on Wednesday. The Constitutional Court sentenced him to 15 months in jail for failing to abide by an order to give evidence before the Zondo Commission.

Shops were looted and trucks set alight, with the KwaZulu-Natal government estimating that the damage to property in that province so far came to around R100 million.

Riots also erupted in the Johannesburg inner city, and sections of the M2 highway were closed after protesters blocked the road with burning tyres and rocks.

“The rand, having posted steady gains going into the close of the week, is this morning trading on the back foot as the effects of the local protests weigh on the local unit; the rand is underperforming its emerging-market peers as a result,” analysts at Nedbank wrote in a note, as reported by Reuters.

The JSE's All-Share Index was down almost a percent to 65 906 points in opening trading. Absa was down almost 4%, while Mr Price fell 3%. 


12 July 10:18

Tokyo's Nikkei closes up more than 2.2%

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index closed up more than 2.2 percent Monday, snapping a three-day losing streak as investors took heart from Wall Street rallies and expectations of strong corporate results.

Tokyo shares rose in early trading on bargain-hunting after all three major US indices finished at all-time highs on Friday, following a strong session in Europe.

- AFP

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