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Stocks rise as USA says it is making progress with trade talks

Musa Makoni

The JSE got off to a firmer start this week as it tracked other global stocks higher, after the USA signaled progress in the trade talks with China.

Concerns about a recession took a backseat as investors sort after riskier assets on the back of this positive news. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng surged 2.17% while in mainland China the Shanghai Composite Index also gained 2.17%. In Japan, the Nikkei gained 0.71%. Counters in Europe all tracked higher while in the USA all the major indices rallied by more than 1% after the open.

On the currency market, the rand slipped against the greenback despite the latter tried mostly flat on the day against a basket of major currencies. After having peaked at a session high of R15.20/$ earlier, the local currency retreated to a session low of R15.44/$ before it was recorded trading 0.81% weaker at R15.41/$ at 17.00 CAT.

A couple of blue-chips helped propel the JSE higher on the day. Mining giant Anglo American PLC [JSE:AGL] recorded gains of 3.07% as it closed at R323.84, while luxury retailer Richemont [JSE:CFR] gained 2.3% to close at R117.90. Rand hedge Mondi PLC [JSE:MNP] rose 2.48% as it closed at R290.65, while diversified miner South32 [JSE:S32] managed to add 3.85% to close at R29.43. Grindrod [JSE:GND] closed as one of the day’s biggest gainers after it rallied 12.24% to close at R5.50, while Brait [JSE:BAT] climbed 6.77% to close at R14.04. Oil and gas producer Sasol [JSE:SOL] continues to claw back from last week’s lows, and in today’s session it managed to gain another 3.29% to close at R273.71.

19 August

Discovery Ltd [JSE:DSY] quickly erased most of Friday’s gains as it fell 8.3% to end the day at R101.47, while pharmaceutical giant Aspen [JSE:APN] lost 4.96% to close at R65.91. Steinhoff International [JSE:SNH] reached a new all-time low of R0.97 before it closed 4.81% weaker at R0.99. Blue Label Telecoms [JSE:BLU] came under pressure after the company released a weaker trading statement for its full financial year, and it also announced a delay in the release of its financial results. The stock eventually closed 3.51% weaker at R3.30. Other significant losers on the day included Bidvest [JSE:BVT] which dropped 2.785 to close at R174.00, Massmart [JSE:MSM] which fell 1.49% to R44.23, and MTN Group [JSE:MTN] which closed at R103.55 after dropping 1.39%.

The JSE Top-40 index eventually closed 1.11% higher while the broader JSE All-Share index gained 1.02%. All the major indices advanced in today’s session with the biggest being the Resources index which rallied 2.11%. The Industrials and Financials indices added 0.96% and 0.22% respectively.

At 17.00 CAT, Gold was 0.84% weaker at $1501.03/Oz, Palladium had rallied 1.97% to trade at $1480.60/Oz, and Platinum was up 0.9% at $856.45/Oz.

Brent crude traded mostly firmer on the day, and it was recorded trading 1.07% firmer at $59.24/barrel just after the JSE close.


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