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Rand, JSE firmer ahead of SONA

Musa Makoni

The JSE closed firmer on Thursday on the back of broad-based gains across most global equity markets.

In China the Shanghai Composite Index surged 3.03% while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng closed 1.23% higher. In Japan the Nikkei inched up 0.6%. The upward trend continued in Europe as all the major indices recorded marginal gains, while in the USA the S&P 500 index rose to reach a new all-time high.

Tensions between the USA and Iran escalated after news surfaced that Iran had shot down a drone owned by the USA. Despite this development equity markets were undeterred as they forged ahead while in brent crude rocketed on the back of the news.

The US dollar remained subdued as markets continue to price in the US Fed’s dovish stance on monetary policy. The rand surged further in today’s session as it peaked at a session high of R14.19/$. At 17.00 CAT, it had retraced to trade at R14.31/$ ahead of the state of the nation address by President Ramaphosa which is scheduled for 7pm on Thursday.

On the JSE, gold miners led the gains on the day with significant gains being recorded for Harmony Gold [JSE:HAR] which surged 7.77% to close at R29.97, AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG] gained 7.47% to close at R241.99, and Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] added 3.66% to close at R76.48. RMB Holdings [JSE:RMH] managed to post gains of 2.72% to end the day at R87.24, while Discovery Limited [JSE:DSY] added 1.63% to close at R155.50. Rand sensitives such as banks and retailers also advanced on the day. Gains were recorded for FirstRand [JSE:FSR] which added 2.45% to close at R71.40 and Mr Price [JSE:MRP] which closed at R207.33 after gaining 2.48%.

KAP Industrials [JSE:KAP] plummeted 12.17% to close at R5.70 mainly on the back of a weaker trading statement which was released on Wednesday just before the close. Intu Properties [JSE:ITU] lost 7.54% to close at R14.11 while Steinhoff International [JSE:SNH] slumped even further as it fell 5.84% to close at R1.29. Mediclinic [JSE:MEI] fell 2.91% to end the day at R54.72, while Ascendis Health [JSE:ASC] lost 1.67% to close at R4.70. Rand hedge British American Tobacco [JSE:BTI] closed marginally weaker as it shed 0.65% to close at R509.16, while Mondi PLC [JSE:MNP] closed at R321.29 after dropping 0.67%.

The JSE Top-40 index eventually closed 0.81% firmer while the broader JSE All-Share index gained 0.7%. All the major indices managed to close in the green with the Resources advancing the most after gaining 1.14%. The Financials and Industrials indices gained 1.1% and 0.35% respectively.

At 17.00 CAT, Gold was up 1.71% to trade at $1383.63/Oz, Palladium had lost 1.26% to trade at $1486.05/Oz, and Platinum was 0.25% weaker at $810.45/Oz.

Brent crude was buoyant on the back of the political escalations between the USA and Iran. The commodity had gained 4.48% to trade at $64.59/barrel just after the JSE close.


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