MARKET WRAP: Disappointing mining data weighs on sector’s shares
The JSE closed weaker on Thursday as concern over the health of larger global economies continued to dampen sentiment, with major central banks flagging subdued global economic growth.
Policy makers of both the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB) kept interest rates unchanged, with the latter forecasting slower growth in the region. The Fed said it was unlikely to raise rates again this year.
Locally, mining output plummeted to its lowest level in three years. Production in the sector slumped 7.5% year-on-year in February, with gold output plunging almost 21%.
The resources index lost 1.05% on the day, with Anglo American Platinum faring worst, dropping 4.54% to R779.98.
Gold Fields relinquished 3.18% to R53.30, AngloGold Ashanti 3.55% to R184.92, and Harmony Gold 3.04% to R26.80.
The all share ended the day 0.39% lower at 58,186.2 points, with the top 40 index falling 0.42%. The gold index lost 2.97% and platinums 2.41%. The only positive in the major indices was industrials, which eked out a 0.06% gain.
Fresh from a rights placement for R1.7bn, Sibanye-Stillwater said it would raise a similar amount by selling forward gold production to Citibank, giving it protection from a potential platinum strike and funds to repay debt. Its share price was 1.14% weaker at R13.84.
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) announced on Thursday that it had found no evidence of insider trading in Steinhoff shares following claims that former CEO Markus Jooste had advised associates to sell stock in the company prior to its collapse in December 2017. The FSCA said it found no reason to believe shares were traded in contravention of the Financial Markets Act. Its shares rose 3.53% to R1.76 following the news.
Naspers lost 0.74% to R3,574.97.
Sanlam fell 1.12% to R76.66 and Old Mutual 0.87% to R22.87.
FirstRand lost 0.75% to R66.61, Standard Bank 0.62% to R193.50, and Absa 0.55% to R160.29.
Those who gained were few and far between, but Quilter added 1.68% to R27.91 and Sygnia 1.37% to R9.65. Super Group rose 1.66% to R34.36.
Global markets came off their recent highs but the dollar held steady, forcing the rand back above R14/$, after earlier reaching R13.91.
At 6.31pm, the rand had lost 0.75% to R14.0175/$, 0.63% to R15.7814/€, and 0.63% to R18.3203/£. Local bonds weakened marginally as a result, with the benchmark R186 government bond last bid at 8.485%, from 8.475% previously.
Rand hedges benefited from the weaker currency with Richemont up 2.27% to R100.14 and AB InBev 1.97% to R1,234.53.
Shortly after the JSE closed, the Dow was down 0.16% at 26,114.79 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 was flat. The CAC 40 turned positive in later trade, adding 0.66%, with the DAX 30 up 0.25%.
At the same time, gold had lost 1.1% to $1,293.53/oz and platinum 1.11% to $891.28. Brent crude was down 1.34% to $70.62 a barrel.