The JSE was a shade higher at lunchtime on Wednesday, reflecting a pick-up in global risk appetite, as, for the moment, markets appear to have adopted a wait-and-see attitude to the continuing conflict on the Korean peninsula.
The all share was up 0.12% to 56,475.90 points at lunchtime, supported by a handful of industrial stocks.
Earlier this week, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan, raising fears of a military response. “All the sabre rattling and the actual missile firings are of concern and that nervousness is captured in the gold price, which has ticked up comfortably above $1,300 an ounce,” said Craig Pheiffer, chief investment strategist at Absa Stockbrokers and Portfolio Management.
“We recently added some gold exchange-traded fund exposure to our local balanced portfolios, as well as our global equity portfolio, to add in some insurance against any further global political turmoil, but also as a bit of a hedge against the US dollar.”
Gold stocks and platinums eased as the underlying metal prices pulled back from their multi-month highs.
Banks and insurance stocks were relatively subdued, with the exception of Liberty, which came under renewed pressure.
Assore was up 3.15% to R272.81, after doubling its full-year headline earnings to a record R5.2bn.
Telkom was up 2.45% to R62.70, after the fixed-line and mobile operator signalled that the government was considering selling its 39% interest in its shares.
Sibanye-Stillwater was off 3.56% to R21.11 after incurring a headline loss of R2.2bn in the year to June.
Platinum miner Lonmin shed 3.45% to R14.29.
Industrial group Barloworld was up 1.95% to R127.44 and Naspers 1.1% to R2,949.49.
Mediclinic dropped 1.71% to R125.