MARKET WRAP: JSE firms as banks and retailers cheer rand rebound

The JSE rose on Tuesday, lifted by rand-sensitive stocks, as the local currency benefited from a weaker dollar environment.

Banks, along with food and drug retailers, led the gains, while diversified miners and rand hedges fell. Sasol, which spent most of the day lower, climbed shortly before the close as Brent crude breached $80 a barrel.

Volumes were once again low at about R12bn, compared to the daily average of R20bn.

Local data provided further signs of improved business confidence, with the South African Reserve Bank’s leading indicator falling 0.7 points in March from the previous month, but this represented a 4.1% rise compared to the same month in 2017.

Global markets were broadly higher, with analysts citing continued positive sentiment from ebbing US-China trade tension. The FTSE 100 hit a record high earlier.

The all share closed 0.52% higher at 58,121.80 points and the top 40 added 0.56%. Banks rose 1.85%, property 1.43%, food and drug retailers 1.31%, financials 1.23%, and general retailers 1.14%. The gold index dropped 0.8% and resources 0.43%.

British American Tobacco dropped 1.22% to R636.91.

Standard Bank gained 2.27% to R205.06, FirstRand 2.14% to R61.61, and Capitec 1.35% to R856.03.

Woolworths was flat, after earlier announcing the departure of its Australian CEO John Dixon. Mr Price gained 2.72% to R260.91 and TFG 2.22% to R198.

Huge Group rose 2.48% to R8.25, ahead of its finals to end-February, due on Wednesday. It said earlier in May that it expects headline earnings per share (HEPS) to rise by between 65% and 85%.

Lewis fell 2.06% to R37.55, ahead of its full-year results to end-March on Wednesday, with the company expecting HEPS to decline by between 22% and 28%.

Aveng slumped 23.75% to 61c, extending losses from Friday, when it emerged that Murray & Robert’s largest shareholder did not support the proposed acquisition of the group.

At 5.40pm, the Dow was flat, while in Europe the DAX 30 had gained 0.87%, the FTSE 100 0.45%, and the CAC 40 0.18%.

At the same time, gold was flat at $1,292.02 an ounce, while platinum had firmed 0.92% to $909.20. Brent crude was up 1.06% to $80.33 a barrel.

The top 40 Alsi futures gained 0.53% to 51,921 points. The number of contracts traded was 18,502 from Monday’s 16,666.