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JSE retreats as US-China trade talks stall

Musa Makoni

The lack of progress with the US-China trade talks further heightened investors’ concerns on Friday which led to most global stock indices trading weaker.

Adding to the economic growth concerns flagged by the European Union on Thursday, skepticism spread as US president Donald Trump said that he did not plan to meet his Chinese counterpart before the March 1st deadline set for a trade resolution. This new development lengthens the period of uncertainty    before concrete resolution is reached.

The JSE was not spared from the losses as most of the bourse’s heavyweights traded under pressure. Sasol [JSE:SOL] had the biggest loss amongst the blue chips as it fell 6.5% to close at R384.78. This was after the company issued a trading statement indicating the Lake Charles Chemical Project in the USA had been delayed and would incur additional capital expenditure. Blue Label Telecoms [JSE:BLU] fell 4.65% to close at R4.31, while Brait [JSE:BAT] lost 3.06% to end the day at R27.53. Rhodes Food Group [JSE:RFG] struggled significantly eventually closing the day 7.39% lower at R16.16. Cement maker PPC Limited [JSE:PPC] dropped 5.76% to close at R5.40, while KAP Industrial Holdings [JSE:KAP] lost 3.25% to close at R8.34.

8 February

Sibanye Stillwater [JSE:SGL] continues to surge as it rallied 8.06% to close at R14.21 to finish amongst the day’s biggest gainers. Lonmin [JSE:LON] recorded similar gains as it climbed 8% to end the day at R11.74. The surge in palladium metal prices saw the majority of its miners record gains on the day. Impala Platinum [JSE:IMP] added 3.78% to R45.25, Northam Platinum [JSE:NHM] climbed 2.77% to R50.78, while higher iron ore prices saw Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] close 3.09% higher at R354.47.

The JSE All-Share index closed 1.19% weaker while the JSE Top-40 index lost 1.41%. All the major indices closed in the red once more. The Resources index fell 1.97%, Industrials lost 1.36% and Financials dropped 1.35%.

After managing minor gains during the day’s session, the rand retreated to trade flat at R13.62/$ at 17.00 CAT.

Brent crude recovered from an earlier slump to trade 0.67% firmer at $62.04/barrel just after the JSE close.

At 17.00 CAT, Gold was up 0.34% at $1314.51/Oz, Platinum had gained 0.25% to trade at $800.22/Oz, and Palladium was trading 1.15% firmer at $1401.97/Oz.

Bitcoin was 1.79% at $3512.90/coin, while Ethereum had gained 4.73% to trade at $111.10/coin.