JSE gains as trade-war news lifts sentiment


The JSE closed firmer on Thursday, in line with most global markets, after China’s latest comments calling for smoother trade negotiations with the US lifted sentiment.

The country’s foreign ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said on Thursday that the US needs to create the necessary conditions for the two economic superpowers to negotiate in September. 

China said it hopes the US will cancel its latest tariffs on $250bn worth of its imports to prevent the war from escalating.

“The lack of clarity is making it extremely difficult for traders to judge where the dispute is heading,” London Capital Group head of research Jasper Lawler said in a note. 

Shortly after the JSE closed, the rand had firmed 0.66% to R15.3114/$, 0.82% to R16.9349/€, and 0.84% to R18.6699/£. The euro had weakened 0.15% to $1.1061.

Gold lost 0.2% to $1,537.95/oz while platinum climbed 3.18% to $932.39. Brent crude was down 0.56% to $60.78 a barrel.

The Dow added 1.05% to 26,309.01 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 was up 0.84%, France’s CAC 40 1.32%, and Germany’s DAX 30 0.92%. Earlier, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.1% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.34% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 was flat. 

The JSE all share gained 0.29% to 54,411.50 points and the top 40 0.27%, while banks fell 1.01%. Platinum miners gained another 2.76% — the index is now up more than 90% in 2019.

Massmart leapt 7.86% to R42.69 despite the retailer reporting a net loss of R832.4m in the six months to end-June. The company said on Thursday that it expects its headline earnings per share for the year to December 2019 to be 50% lower than those of the previous year.

Woolworths rose 3.61% to R53.93 after the company said on Thursday that its SA sales increased by 5.8% in the 53 weeks to end-June.

Steinhoff  gained 2.52% to R1.22 after it said earlier that it will consider selling its strongest performing businesses in an effort to reduce debt.

PPC said earlier that it expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to decrease by between 5% and 10% in the four months to end-July. Its share price was unchanged at R4.10.

Grindrod Shipping dropped 3.97% to R72.02 after its net loss increased to $18.9m in the six months to end-June from $13.4m in the previous period.

Santam rose 0.98% to R286.22. The company said on Thursday that its headline earnings per share fell 3% to R9.90 in the six months to end-June. 

AdvTech rose 0.37% to R10.97 after it kept its dividend unchanged at 15c for the six months to end-June.

Aveng slumped 33.33% to 2c after its said on Thursday that its revenue decreased 16% to R25.7m in the year to end-June.

Advanced Health added 2.5% to 41c after it said on Thursday that its revenue increased by 18% to R481m in the year to end-June. 

Producer price inflation slowed to 4.9% in July from June’s 5.8%, below Bloomberg’s consensus of 5.3%.

Sars is scheduled to release the trade balance for July on Friday. A surplus of R2.9bn is the consensus according to a Bloomberg poll, from R4.4bn in the previous month.

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