THE JSE closed higher on Friday as the stronger rand boosted sentiment across the board.
The rand broke convincingly through R11 to the dollar‚ trading at R10.85 in the late afternoon as emerging markets shrugged off negative news from Turkey. Good growth figures from Europe were supportive of the euro‚ with the dollar weakening as a result. A stronger euro is usually supportive of the JSE.
Resource‚ platinum and gold shares were stronger on higher commodity prices.
At 5pm the JSE closed 0.82% up at 46‚628.74 points‚ with the blue-chip top 40 index firming 0.87%.
All the indices were higher‚ led by the gold index rising 5.28%. Platinum was up 2.05% and resources by 1.49%. Banks were 1.52% stronger and financials added 0.56%.
At 5.20pm the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.24%‚ while at the same time the Paris CAC40 had gained 0.47% and the German Dax was 0.56% higher.
Afrifocus Securities portfolio manager Ferdi Heyneke said some shares made pretty good moves for the day‚ with BHP Billiton and Naspers closing at new highs. “The market held steady‚ with dollar weakness and commodity strength the main drivers.”
The main moves were from mining stocks. “But we are also starting to see some recovery from industrials and banks which were sold off after the unexpected rate hike last month.”
Volatility is set to remain‚ but a firmer undercurrent is building in the market. “We are only about 700 points from the previous high.” The stronger market was reasonably sustainable‚ Heyneke said‚ as many of the important global issues‚ such as the US Federal Reserve’s stimulus cuts‚ were already quantified and factored into market prices.
Among individual shares global mining giant BHP Billiton (BIL) rose 1.89% to a new high of R345.50, with Glencore (GLN) up 1.98% to R61.85.
After being up for most of the day Anglo American (AGL) pulled back 0.36% to R278. The group reported underlying earnings of $2.7bn for the year ended December 2013 from 2012’s $2.9bn‚ with underlying operating profit increasing by 6% to $6.6bn.
Rand hedge shares were the losers of the day as the stronger rand kept them under pressure. British America Tobacco (BAT) lost 0.72% to R552.64 and SABMiller (SAB) was down 0.37% to R502.25.
Among gold shares Gold Fields (GFI) rose 8.53% to R44.42 with Harmony (HAR) up 4.40% to R34.65. Sibanye (SGL) closed 6.98% up at R19.77, its second record high for the week. Analysts say there is still support for gold shares, boosted by the higher gold price, amid continued and lingering concerns about the eventual consequences of the US Fed’s stimulus cuts.
Platinum group Implats (IMP) closed 2.60% higher at R123.90. The group said on Friday it was preparing for a three-month strike as trade union Amcu was not budging from its R12,500 minimum wage demand.
Paper group Mondi (MNP) was up 4.64% at R185.44.
Retailer Woolies (WHL) bounced back strongly by 2.26% to R60.30 after being sold off on Thursday despite reporting strong first-half results.
Naspers (NPN) closed 2.55% higher at R1,219.29, a new high.