JSE closes higher as trade war fears ease

Global markets shrug off concerns about an escalating trade war

Image: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters via The Conversation

The JSE closed higher yesterday as global markets shrugged off concerns about an escalating trade war‚ following a conciliatory speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Miners and industrials led the gainers‚ while property stocks received a boost at the close after Resilient released the findings of its independent review.

“There was no evidence of executive misconduct and/or breaches of applicable governance rules and policies by Resilient‚ its executives and The Siyakha Trusts‚” Resilient said.

The group said no evidence was found of market manipulation and insider trading.

The Chinese leader lowered tariffs on vehicle imports and said the Chinese market would be opened for more imports in a market-friendly manner.

However‚ renewed tension between US President Donald Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller‚ who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election‚ promised to upend the improved sentiment.

Elsewhere‚ the US is preparing for a possible military strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over a suspected chemical-weapons attack‚ coinciding with Trump putting off his proposed visit to South America.

Domestically‚ disappointing manufacturing data added to a subdued trading environment.

Manufacturing production fell unexpectedly by a seasonally adjusted 2.4% in February‚ limiting the annual increase to a modest 0.6% – much slower than January’s 2.3% growth rate.

The market expected an acceleration to 2.6%.

The JSE all-share ended 1.17% higher at 56 747.2 points and the Top 40 rose 1.31%. Resources gained 2.55%‚ industrial stocks 0.87%‚ banks 0.81%‚ financial shares 0.73% and property 0.59%. The gold index lost 1.91%.

Anglo American leapt 5.62% to R287.34 and Kumba Iron Ore 6.71% to R292.39.

FirstRand rose 1.93% to R66.48. Barclays Africa slipped 1.4% to R183.39.

Steinhoff plummeted 15.49% to a record low of R2.51.

Resilient was up 2.35% to R64.99 at the close. Fortress B gained 3.57% to R16.52 and Nepi Rockcastle 0.8% to R137.50.

Naspers lifted 1.33% to R3 050.

- BusinessLIVE