JSE closes high as ECB supports global markets

The JSE closed above the 50 000-point level yesterday for the first time this year yesterday as the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing measures supported global markets, despite election ripples from Greece and the chance that an anti-austerity party might also win in Spain.

The JSE was well supported by Naspers reaching a new high‚ while banking and retail shares firmed in anticipation of stable interest rates at this week’s monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting.

Mining stocks plunged after the landslide victory by the Greek leftist party threw the country’s international bailout plan into question‚ together with its future in the eurozone. In Spain‚ anti-austerity party Podemos is leading the polls.

Platinum counters were the hardest hit on the JSE‚ with shares of Anglo American Platinum‚ the world’s largest miner of the metal‚ nose-diving more than 8% to levels last seen on January 8‚ before closing 5% lower at R349.41.

The Dow Jones industrial average opened flat‚ and was 0.52% down at 5.05pm, with the FTSE 100 losing 0.44% by the same time. The Paris CAC 40 was flat after earlier gains.

The JSE last closed above the 50 000-point level on December 29 and has been hovering just beneath it for most of this year. It hit its highest level yet of 52 323.61 on July 29.

The JSE all share closed up 1.05% at 50 337.98‚ with the blue-chip top 40 gaining 1.26%.

Banks led the pack‚ gaining 1.5%‚ followed by industrials firming 1.48%. Financials added 1.12%.

The gold index was the biggest loser‚ down 3.58%‚ followed by platinums‚ which gave up 3.54%. Resources softened 0.25%.

– Maartem Mittner, BDlive

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