JSE weakens, led by property, and local environment remains gloomy
The JSE was weaker on Wednesday morning, failing to track positive global markets, which were benefiting from US-China trade war developments.
Most Asian markets were at least 1% higher on Wednesday morning but local factors, including load-shedding, continued to dampen domestic sentiment.
At 10am the all share index was down 0.25% to 53,824.2 points and the top 40 down 0.28%. Property lost 1.9% and industrials 0.57%.
Hyprop Investments slumped 5.63% to R83.40. Earlier, it said Moody's had lowered its investment grade to junk status, citing debt-funded acquisitions in Eastern Europe that had increased its debt-to-asset ratio to 41% as of June 2018.
US president Donald Trump has indicated that a March 1 deadline for a trade deal with China is not set in stone. Trump said on Tuesday that if Chinese negotiators made sufficient concessions this week, new tariffs may not be implemented even if a new deal is not reached.
US markets closed higher on Tuesday, also bolstered by news that legislators had reached a tentative funding agreement to avoid a second partial government shutdown. Trump has received only part of his requested funding for a border wall, however.
Locally, SA’s largest labour federation, Cosatu, has embarked on a one-day national strike. Load-shedding will continue on Wednesday.
Focus on Wednesday is on domestic retail sales data for December, due at 1pm. US inflation data at 3:30pm could also give the market some direction.
Rand hedge AB InBev was up 1.28% to R1,056.25 and Richemont 1.59% to R96.49.
Pan African Resources was up 3.72% to R1.95, having reported earlier that headline earning per share (Heps) were expected to rise as much as 109% in the six months to end-December, mostly due to a depreciating rand. In rand terms, Heps were expected to rise by between 8% and 18% compared with the same period in 2017.
Naspers lost 1.29% to R3,025.31.
Curro gained 4.03% to R25.80, having said earlier that Heps for the year to end-December had risen 23% to 60.1c versus the comparative period.
Gold was flat at $1,311.75/oz, while platinum had fallen 0.24% to $789.09.
Brent crude was 0.53% higher at $62.90 a barrel.