THE JSE edged lower on Friday, failing to sustain earlier record levels as gold miners fell victim to a declining gold price and the stronger rand.
Talks of a possible strike in the industry also weighed on sentiment in the sector battling against falling profit and higher costs.
At 5pm, the all-share index was down 0.13 to 49,933.99 points, having earlier hit an intraday record high of 50,120.69 points. The blue-chip top 40 index finished ended the day flat at 0.07%.
The gold mining index dropped 2.09%, with platinum and resource miners also ending weaker.
Only the banking and financial sector locked gains on Friday.
Spot gold dropped after a US employment report showed the US economic recovery was firmly on track, lessening the metals use as a store of value and a hedge against inflation.
America created 217‚000 jobs last month‚ the nonfarm payrolls report showed, largely in line with market expectations. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.3%.
Analysts said the jobs report signalled that the US Federal Reserve would likely continue its drive to rein its monetary stimulus, which has fuelled demand for gold since the global financial crisis of 2008. The rand firmed more than 12c on the jobs report‚ strengthening as far as R10.55 against the dollar.
Other emerging market currencies also gained ground against the greenback as traders bet the improvement in the US labour market wasn’t strong enough to push the US Federal Reserve to an earlier than expected interest rate increase, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
This set the tone for risk on trade‚ continuing a trend that has seen emerging market assets on the radar of those willing to pay more for higher returns.
Harmony Gold dominated losses in the gold sector, dropping 3.26% to R28.17, with Sibanye losing 3.06% to R26.61 and Anglogold Ashanti declining 2.01% to R166.40.
The world’s third-largest platinum miner Lonmin ended 2.72% lower at R44.36.
Santam jumped 6.36% to R207.99 after dropping 8% the previous day. Nedbank gained 2.90% to R230.50.
Construction counter Basil Read tumbled 5.12% to R7.78 following a trading update that showed interim earnings would be up to 270% lower.
Leading international markets also advanced on the US employment figures.
At 5.24pm local time, London’s FTSE 100 had climbed 0.61% and the Dow Jones industrial average was 0.41% firmer.