Stronger rand weighs on the JSE

The JSE closed weaker on Thursday after erasing earlier gains as the negative trade war sentiment and stronger rand dragged the local bourse.

The All-Share index managed to open firmer as it tried to take a leaf from the stronger close in Asia but this momentum quickly faded. Asian counters inched higher despite a softer close in US indices overnight. 

The rand gained over a 1.5% against the greenback to peak at a session high of R13.28/$. This was despite the US dollar extending its gains against a basket of major currencies. At 17.00 CAT, the rand was 1.75% firmer to trade at R13.32/$.

The stronger rand resulted in rand hedges trading softer which saw stocks such as Sappi [JSE:SAP] shedding 1.74% to close at R90.01 per share, while Richemont[JSE:CFR] lost 1.8% to close at R111.02. Aspen [JSE:APN] lost 2.61% to close at R260.91, and Life Healthcare [JSE:LHC] closed at R24.34 after dropping 2.41%.

Index heavyweight BHP Billiton [JSE:BIL] and Anglo American PLC [JSE:AGL] closed 1.5% and 1.57% weaker respectively. 

More significant losses were recorded for Lewis[JSE:LEW] which slipped by 6.86% to end the day at R31.10 per share.

Hospitality Property Fund B [JSE:HPB] pulled back to R10.00 per share after dropping 4.76%, while its sector peer Intu Properties [JSE:ITU] lost 5.24% to close at R31.30.

On the gainers, Steinhoff International[JSE:SNH] continued to claw its way back up after jumping 27.43% to close at R2.88. Alexander Forbes[JSE:AFH] added 4.38% to close at R5.00, while Pan African Resources [JSE:PAN] closed at R1.38 after gaining 1.47%.

Gains were fairly modest on the blue-chip index with Truworths [JSE:TRU] adding 1.63% to close at R75.52 per share while Mr Price [JSE:MRP] closed at R220.33 after adding 1.38%. Sanlam [JSE:SLM] and Mediclinic [JSE:MEI] added 1.1% and 0.21% respectively. 

The JSE Top-40 index eventually closed 0.73% weaker, while the JSE All-Share Index lost 0.67%.

The Resources index came under significant pressure to end the day down 1.45%. The Industrials and Financials indices lost 0.42% and 0.37% respectively.

Brent crude slipped dramatically overnight due to concerns over possible supply constraints which might result because of the trade war. In today’s session it slipped to a session low of $73.35/barrel before rebounding slightly to trade at $73.55/barrel just after the JSE close.

Gold traded marginally firmer on the day and at 17.00 CAT it was trading 0.42% firmer at $1247.21/Oz. Platinum was 1.93% firmer at $844.00/Oz and Palladium was 1.12% at $950.08/Oz. 

At 17.00 CAT, Bitcoin was trading 2.85% weaker at $6176.90/coin whilst Ethereum was down 2.45% at $429.57/coin. 

* The JSE market update is from GT247.com, an online broker and authorised financial services provider.

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