The JSE erased earlier gains to end the day softer as blue-chips lost their earlier momentum.
Friday marked the implementation of US tariffs on Chinese goods, with the first wave of tariffs being imposed on farming ploughs and airplane parts. The Chinese responded with their initial tariffs targeting soybeans and automobiles from the USA. China has vowed to retaliate accordingly and at the same time Donald Trump is also threatening to impose tariffs on every single Chinese import into the USA.
Asian markets did open weaker on Friday but surprisingly they reversed and managed to close firmer as sentiment about the tariffs became less bearish. Asian equities have taken a knock over the past couple of weeks as investors have been trying to assess the potential impact of the tariffs. On Friday, the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite Index posted gains of 0.47% and 0.68% respectively.
Locally the main positive was the rand which managed to strengthen to a session high of R13.47 against the US dollar. This was on the back of the US dollar which continued to slide as indicated by the US dollar index which briefly broke below 94 index points. At 17.00 CAT, the Rand was trading at R13.49/$.
The JSE did not fare so well as it lost its earlier momentum despite the firmer close in Asia. Balwin Properties [JSE:BWN] lost 6.12% to end the day at R4.60 per share to feature amongst the day’s biggest losers. EOH Holdings [JSE:EOH] slid by 3.68% to close at R30.60 while Barloworld [JSE:BAW] weakened by 4.8% to end the day at R124.00
Standard Bank traded softer despite the stronger rand to end the day 2.57% weaker at R192.00, while First Rand [JSE:FSR] lost 2.09% to end the day at R64.22 per share. Retailer, The Foschini Group [JSE:TFG] closed at R179.57 after dropping 3.48% and Truworths [JSE:TRU] lost 1.78% to close at R77.00 per share. Vodacom [JSE:VOD] and Remgro [JSE:REM] lost 1.46% and 1.56% respectively.
Lewis [JSE:LEW] firmed to R31.50 after the stock gained 5%, while African Rainbow Minerals [JSE:ARM] gained 4.07% to end the day at R117.70 per share.
Gains were modest on the blue-chip index where the one of the top gainers was Naspers [JSE:NPN] which gained 1.47% to close at R3413.86. Old Mutual [JSE:OMU] notched up 0.49% to close at R28.50, while Netcare [JSE:NTC] closed at R28.50 after adding 1.75%.
The JSE Top-40 index eventually closed the day 0.14% weaker, while the JSE All-Share index lost 0.17%. The Industrials index was flat after adding only 0.1% while the Resources and Financials indices lost 0.16% and 1.03% respectively.
Trading in Gold was relatively muted as the precious metal traded within a $6 range. The precious metal reached a session low of $1252.88/$ before rebounding marginally to trade at $1255.51/Oz. Platinum was 0.36% firmer at $845.01/Oz while Palladium was trading at $949.24/Oz, down 0.15% for the day.
Brent crude was weighed down by the sentiment surrounding the Sino-US trade war. The commodity slid to a session low of $76.36/barrel before rebounding to trade at $77.00/barrel just after the JSE close.
At 17.00 CAT Ethereum was 0.58% weaker at $468.31/coin and Bitcoin was trading 0.36% softer at $6560.50/coin.