After dipping in and out of positive territory on Monday, the local equity market closed down, having struggled to make headway following Friday’s record close.
At 5pm, the all share index was down 0.12% at 47 394.24 points with the blue chip top 40 index losing 0.17%. The JSE closed at a record 47 616.85 points on Friday.
Banks were the star performers of the day, with the index gaining 3.78%, helped by a slightly firmer rand and better than expected results from the country’s fourth largest lender, Nedbank.
Nedbank, the majority-owned South African banking subsidiary of Old Mutual Plc reported full year profit growth of 15.9% to R18.29c. Shareholders were also pleased by the 19% dividend increase to 895c per share.
“There was a strong interest in banks today on the back of results out of Nedbank, which buoyed gains in the rest of the sector,” Investec Asset Management’s, head of emerging-market dealing, Ryan Wibberley said.
Meanwhile the rand, which firmed to an intraday best level of R10.86/$ from Friday’s close of R10.93/$ pushed resource and platinum shares lower, with the former dropping 1.95% and the latter declining 2.41%. Gold miners, however bucked the trend, lifting 0.92% on a firmer bullion price, which is approaching a four-month high.
“The sector gained around 20% this month alone,” Wibberley said.
By 5.59pm, spot gold had lifted 0.99% to $1336.85 an ounce.
Elsewhere, European markets were mixed, as concerns over China’s property market weighed on investor sentiment at the start of the week, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended down 1.8% amid concerns about new curbs on loans to property developers.
This, alongside data showing Chinese new-home price growth slowed in January for the first time in a year, served to weaken sentiment in financial markets on Monday, the newswire said.
In the US, stocks recouped their previous losses, with the S&P 500 climbing to a new record high despite recent economic data falling short of expectations.
Among individual shares on the JSE, Nedbank (NED) gained 3.22% to R209.30, Standard Bank (SBK) added 4.74% to R124.12, FirstRand (FSR) climbed 3.91% to R34.05 and Barclays Africa Group (BGA) firmed 1.72% to R134.60.
Resources saw Anglo American (AGL) lose 2.83% to R275.95 and BHP Billiton (BIL) give up 2.66% to R352.50.
SA’s third-largest platinum producer, Lonmin (LON) led losses among leading miners of the metal, dropping 4.90% to R55.76.
Junior gold miner Village Main Reef (VIL) jumped a further 5.88% to 54c, following Friday’s 6% gain after reporting improved interim profits.
Transport and Logistics group Imperial (IPL) increased 4.25% to R167.99.