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Stocks fall as higher numbers of infections emerge

Musa Makoni

The JSE slipped on Friday as pressure mounted on global stocks due to new cases of coronavirus infections being recorded across different countries.

It is becoming more apparent that some economies and companies will be severely impacted due to the loss of productivity caused by quarantining. Significant declines were recorded for the Hang Seng which lost 1.09%, while the Nikkei lost a more modest 0.39%. The Shanghai Composite Index barely eked out gains of 0.12%. Stocks in Europe tracked lower albeit on the back of relatively modest losses, while US equity futures pointed to a lower opening.

The rand found some reprieve despite the US dollar holding steady. The local currency managed to peak at a session high of R15.04/$ before it was recorded trading 0.21% firmer at R15.08/$ at 17.00 CAT.

Nampak [JSE:NPK] was one of the biggest declines on the day after it fell 6.6% to close at R4.67, while Bidvest [JSE:BVT] lost 5.69% to close at R188.06. Sasol [JSE:SOL] resumed its slump following a minor relief bounce on Thursday. The share tumbled 5.34% to close at R214.08. Woolworths [JSE:WHL] continued to struggle as it slipped 5.21% to close at R40.19, while Telkom [JSE:TKG] closed at R30.41 after losing 3.06%. Listed property stocks retreated on the day with declines being recorded for Fortress REIT [JSE:FFB] which lost 3.79% to close at R6.10, Investec Property Fund [JSE:IPF] which dropped 2.17% to close at R12.16, as well as Intu Properties [JSE:ITU] which fell 3.21% to close at R2.71. Significant losses were also recorded for Glencore [JSE:GLN] which lost 2.56% to close at R43.75, as well as Sibanye Stillwater [JSE:SSW] which closed 2.54% lower at R47.25.

Most of the miners advanced on the day with significant gains being recorded for Harmony Gold [JSE:HAR] which rallied 7.1% to close at R59.30, Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] which gained 6.47% to close at R113.61, as well as AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG] which surged 6.56% to close at R338.00 following the release of its half-year results. NEPI Rockcastle [JSE:NRP] found some traction on the back the release of its full-year results which saw the share gain 3.46% to close at R125.71. Some rand sensitives gained some upside momentum due to the firmer rand which saw gains being recorded for Truworths [JSE:TRU] which climbed 6.27% to close at R48.50, as well as Investec PLC [JSE:INP] which rose 1.57% to close at R87.35.

The JSE All-Share index closed 1.01% lower while the JSE Top-40 index fell 1.14%. All the major indices retreated on the day. Financials lost 1.38%, Industrials dropped 1.26%, while the Resources index shed 0.54%.

Brent crude fell from its overnight highs as it was recorded trading 2.16% lower at $58.08/barrel just after the JSE close.

At 17.00 CAT, Platinum was up 0.07% at $978.56/Oz, Palladium was 0.03% softer at $2690.88/Oz, while Gold was up 1.54% to trade at $1643.90/Oz.


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