JSE reverses gains in renewed risk-off trade

The JSE all share closed weaker on Wednesday as the market failed to hold onto a marginally positive start amid renewed risk-off sentiment emanating from geopolitical tension.

There was some pick-up in risk-on trade at midday, but sentiment turned negative again after North Korea warned that its next ballistic missile attack will be aimed at the US territory of Guam in the Pacific ocean, following the launch of a missile over Japan earlier in the week.

European markets were up on the weaker euro as the greenback recovered some lost ground from two-year lows.

The all share closed 0.43% lower at 56,168 points and the blue-chip top 40 0.42%. Banks were down 1.44%, gold 1.27%, financials 0.93%, the platinum index 0.90%, and food and drug retailers 0.69%. Resources added 0.13% and property 0.09%.

Sasol closed 0.89% lower at R384.53, as Brent crude gave up 0.67% to $51.54 a barrel.

Telkom was up 2.04% to R62.45, after the fixed-line and mobile operator signalled that the government was considering selling its 39% interest in the company.

FirstRand lost 1.92% to R55.67.

Sibanye-Stillwater, formerly Sibanye Gold, was off 4.89% to R20.82, after incurring a headline loss of R2.2bn in the year to June.

Real estate investment trust (Reit) Growthpoint rose 0.89% to R24.94 after reporting marginally higher than expected dividend growth of 6.5%, to 195.8c, for the year ended June.

Naspers gained 0.31% to R2,926.43.

At 6.05pm, the rand was flat at R12.9838 to the dollar, from R12.9801, in relatively lacklustre trade. It was at R16.7941 to the pound from R16.7692.

The dollar firmed through $1.20 to the euro, reaching an intra-day best level of $1.1894.

Local bonds were stable with the R186 last bid at 8.59% from 8.57%. Local bonds have been steady for most of the week as political issues remain a drawback to a firmer market.

From a credit-rating perspective, SA continued to await further country creditworthiness assessments from the key agencies at the end of November, Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop said.

US treasuries were marginally weaker with the 10-year yield at 2.1371% from 2.1284%.

The top-40 Alsi futures index was down 0.71% at 49,400 points. The number of contracts traded was 21,231 from Tuesday’s 20,686.

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