The JSE capped its second week of gains on Friday with riskier assets still in favour even as the markets consider a sharp rise in coronavirus cases this week.
The number of cases for the virus surged this week after Chinese authorities changed their reporting methodology, leading to a 50% rise in the numbers in the province of Hubei — the epicentre of the outbreak.
“Fridays in 2020 have not been the best for stocks and we could see investors fall out of love of their bullish bets as everyone waits to have a clearer picture with the spreading of the coronavirus,” said Oanda senior market analyst Edward Moya.
“On the second day of the new methodology of confirming new cases, which included imaging scans, Hubei reported 4,283 new cases, down from yesterday’s shocking jump of 14,840 cases, which included prior days and weeks of cases. China reported the total number of cases has reached 63,851 and that the death toll rose by 121 to 1,380,” said Moya.
The JSE all share was little changed on the day at 57,861.76 and the top 40 was also flat. Gold miners climbed 3.40% and the platinum mining index rose 1.70%. The all share was up 1.02% for the week.
Shortly after the JSE closed, the Dow was little changed at 29,416.85 points, while in Europe the FTSE 100 had lost 0.35%, and France’s CAC 40 0.34%. The German DAX 30 was flat.
Gold added 0.36% to $1,581.42/oz while platinum lost 0.16% to $964.48. Brent crude was up 1.13% to $57.08 a barrel.
Earlier, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.38% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.31%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.59%.
The rand also firmed on the day, ending its first week of gains in three. At 5.47pm, it had strengthened 0.56% to R14.87053$ and was up 1.2% for the week. It had strengthened 0.46% to R16.1416/€ and 0.77% to R19.3506/£. The euro was up 0.15% to $1.0855.
Focus now turns to the national budget, after President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the state of the nation address (Sona) on Thursday. Ramaphosa acknowledged that economic growth has stalled, causing high levels of unemployment. However, his address was short on specifics and timeframes to resolve the issues the country faces.