JSE drops for third day despite China allaying virus fears


The JSE erased earlier gains to record its third consecutive day of losses yesterday, while the rand had its best day in three weeks as investors took some comfort from China’s easing of fears over the coronavirus epidemic.

“The rand has stabilised following the knee-jerk reaction to the coronavirus outbreak in Asia, stepping back below R14.50/$,” Mercato Financial Services analyst Nico du Plessis said. 

“All eyes will be on developments at Eskom in the run-up to the February budget, while the new CEO enacting some changes could also be supporting sentiment.”

China’s National Health Commission said yesterday it had put measures in place to limit public gatherings after 440 cases of the coronavirus were reported, Reuters said. 

Domestically, consumer inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), increased to 4% in December, in line with market expectations, up from 3.6% in November, data from Statistics SA showed yesterday.

This is below the mid-point of the Reserve Bank’s 3% to 6% target band. Higher inflation generally weakens the purchasing power of the rand. 

The JSE all share fell 0.1% to 57,918.9 points and the top 40 was flat. Gold miners lost 0.21% and banks gained 0.13%. 

Shoprite said yesterday that sales from its SA supermarkets grew by 9.8% in the six months to end-December.

The retailer said its liquor store sales jumped by 20% during the period. Its share price gained 2.77% to R118.08, the most in just more than a month.

Naspers has sold €1.5bn (R24bn) worth of new shares in its international internet assets subsidiary Prosus, the company said yesterday.

Naspers rose 0.64% to R2,486.35 while Prosus dropped 3.36% to R1,099.91, its biggest fall in nearly three months. — BusinessLIVE