The JSE closed firmer on Monday as Naspers and mining houses found favour among investors on more optimistic growth outlooks.
Gold also offered a big boost during the day as the gold price increased by more than 7%. Japanese and European markets were firmer, with the Dow Jones opening flat after recovering more than 1% on Friday.
All the main JSE indices ended the day higher, except banks.
At 5pm the all share index was 1.28% higher at 45 920.87 points, with the top 40 index up 1.33%.
The gold index firmed 6.13% after the gold price increased to $1276.85 per fine ounce from Friday’s close of $1267.40. Platinum firmed by 3.43%, with resources climbing 2.19%. Industrials were up 0.98%, with financials 0.76% firmer. The banking index was down 0.95%.
Consilium Securities senior equities trader Rob Towell said it was too early to speculate if the JSE was on a new, positive track after also firming strongly on Friday. He said it was mainly three shares – Naspers, Anglo American and BHP Billiton – that drove the market during the day.
“Together these three companies were responsible for a quarter of the market’s firmer trend in the session.”
He said there were also good earnings prospects reported by logistics group Super Group. “Sanlam also impressed the market with is trading update after being heavily sold last week.”
Gold shares were stronger in response to the US nonfarm payrolls data released on Friday which were not as strong as expected. This indicated the US Federal Reserve could delay cuts in tapering, which boosted the gold price.
Banks were lower on Monday. After the rand could not break decisively through R11 to the dollar, raising inflation concerns, there was renewed speculation that the Reserve Bank could hike interest rates this year by 200 basis points, which depressed banks’ share prices.
Higher rates will affect banks negatively, with rising bad debt and reduced lending income.
Towell expected the JSE to remain “strongly volatile” over the short term. “We see a lot of stock-picking and buying on the dips.”
Among the three shares dominating trade for the day, Naspers (NPN) closed 3.41% higher at R1179.94, within distance of its previous high of R1190 reached on January 17. Although trading at a high price earnings ratio of 63, investors still see growth potential from Chinese subsidiary Tencent’s large user base in China. Naspers owns 34% of Tencent.
Anglo American (AGL) received further support after being upgraded last week and on indications its restructuring exercises are bearing fruit as commodity prices rise. It closed 2.57% firmer at R272.08. BHP Billiton (BIL) was up 2% at R330.85.
Among gold shares, AngloGold Ashanti (ANG) rose 6.94% to R175.74. The gold group yesterday announced it was selling its Navachab gold mine in Namibia for $110m. Local gold favourite Sibanye (SGL) was 2.37% firmer at R16.83.
Platinum shares rose in tandem with the higher platinum price and as investors bought into the sector on the weaker rand and prospects of supply disruptions due to the strike in the sector, which could see the price rise even higher.
Amplats (AMS) was up 4.30% to R439.53 with Impala Platinum (IMP) adding 3.56% to R118.67.
Steel group Arcelor Mittal (ACL) continued its upward trend from last week, closing 4.91% firmer at R47. The group on Friday announced its headline loss for the year ended December had narrowed by more than half.
Sanlam (SLM) was up 5.70% at R51 after issuing a trading statement that predicted diluted headline earnings per share (HEPS) would rise between 35% and 40% for the year to end December. Barclays-Africa (BGA) lost 1.93% to R124.06.
Logistics group Super Group (SPG) was 0.93% softer at R26.70 after announcing interim HEPS was expected to be 117.1c per share from 92.2c a year ago.