Stocks pulled lower as iron ore miners outweigh gold

South Africa’s main stock index slides 0.9% by 9:53 a.m. in Johannesburg, missing out on the gains seen in much of Asia after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments that policy would remain accommodative and shift to a more relaxed approach on inflation.

The benchmark South African index showcased broad-based weakness, led by the country’s biggest listed companies, Naspers, BHP, and Richemont, which account for 39% of market capitalisation. Of the 150 listed companies, 79 were lower in early trade, while a further 30 were unchanged. Iron ore miners slid while gold producers gained amid increased demand for bullion.

Friday’s losses trim the benchmark index’s weekly gains to 0.8%. South African stocks remain on course for a fifth month of gains, with one session left for August.

Naspers, with a 19% weighting on the index, falls 2.1%, the biggest decline in more than a week for the tech investor.

Luxury retailer Richemont falls 0.7%.

Index of bank stocks ignores strengthening rand, falls 0.7%.

FirstRand -1.3%, Standard Bank Group -0.6%, Capitec -0.8%, Nedbank -0.8%

Iron ore producers decline as rising stockpiles reinforce recent comments by some industry observers about easing market tightness and lower prices.

BHP -1.4%, Anglo American -0.4%, Glencore  -0.5%, African Rainbow Minerals  -0.3%, Exxaro resources -0.1%

Index of gold producers rises 2.6% as bullion gains, with investors weighing the impact of the Federal Reserve’s new approach to setting US monetary policy, with a more relaxed stance on inflation.

AngloGold Ashanti +2.5%, Gold Fields +2.5%, Harmony Gold +3.6%, DRDGold +4.1%, Pan African Resources +1.2%

Index of platinum companies up 0.7%

Sibanye Stillwater +1.7%, Impala Platinum Holdings +0.3%, Royal Bafokeng Platinum +1.8%

Foreigners were net buyers of South African stocks Thursday, purchasing R843 million worth of shares, according to bourse operator JSE Ltd.

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