Market struggles to find direction


Mar 16 2018 18:03

Musa Makoni, EasyEquities

Cape Town – The local
equity market was mixed on Friday in a session where the JSE swung between the
red and green, as it struggled to gain significant momentum in either

The rand
traded softer against the US dollar as the greenback strengthened for a 3rd
consecutive session. The rand reached a session low of R11.99/$, but it retraced
slightly to trade at R11.97/$ at 17:00 CAT.

Rainbow Minerals [JSE:ARM] jumped 8.32% after the release of an upbeat set of
six months earnings results for the year ended December 31 2017. The company also
declared a maiden interim dividend of 250 cents per share. Lewis [JSE:LEW] also
ended the day’s top gainers as it added 6.93%, whilst Murray and Roberts
[JSE:MUR] jumped 5.67% following the announcement of their successful bids for
underground mining projects in North America and Australia.

Mr Price
[JSE:MRP] and Fortress B [JSE:FFB] were the biggest gainers on the blue-chip
index as they gained 2.94% and 2.41% respectively. Sasol [JSE:SOL] and Anglo
American PLC [JSE:AGL] firmed by 0.40% and 0.61% respectively, whilst
retailer Woolworths [JSE:WHL] added 0.20% despite the softer rand.

Gold [JSE:HAR] gave up most of its gains from the previous day as the stock
lost 5.65% to close at R25.21 per share. Impala Platinum [JSE:IMP] and Ascendis
Health [JSE:ASC] also anchored the bottom of the broader All-Share Index as
they lost 6.34% and 7.80% respectively.

[JSE:NPN] continued to drag the Top-40 Index lower as it shed another 1.66% to
close at R3 408.00 per share. Nedbank [JSE:NED] and Investec PLC [JSE:INP] lost 2.10%
and 1.58% respectively, whilst Remgro [JSE:REM] and Bidvest [JSE:BVT] shed 1.56%
and 0.41% respectively.

The JSE Top-40
Index eventually closed down 0.37%, whilst the broader JSE All-Share Index
managed to gain 0.15%. The Resources Index was the only
other major index to close in the green as it gained 0.67%. The Industrials and
Financials Indices lost 0.17% and 0.43% respectively.

The US
dollar extended its gains against a basket a major currencies after the release
of better than expected job openings data from the US. This resulted in gold
coming under pressure as it slid to a session low of $1 309.82/Oz. At 17:00 the
precious metal was trading at $1 310.01/Oz, down 0.46% for the day.

came off sharply following the release of US economic data which was mostly
better than expected.

The metal slid to a session low of $945.90/Oz, which is
where it was trading at the JSE close. Volatility in palladium was rife as the
metal also swung between positive and negative. It managed to peak to a session
high of $992.24/Oz before it came under significant pressure to trade at $984.75/Oz
just after the close.

Brent Crude
traded mostly flat, but it did manage to reach a session high of $65.32/barrel.
It had retraced marginally to trade at $65.10/barrel just after the close.

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