The JSE was not spared the pall which hung heavily over global markets.
Notwithstanding a pleasing respite over the past month, sentiment reverted to the pessimistic following the release of worse than expected company results in the US yesterday and a number of other indicators of numerous hurdles to be overcome before optimism is restored to financial markets.
Markets fell across Asia and Europe, so it was not surprising that the JSE was more than two percent down early yesterday morning. As more data came out during the day, the market fell further.
A market trader pointed out that share prices on the JSE had increased by 18percent between December 5 and Wednesday - a bigger than expected move upwards and a portent that the trend would not last.
The all share index dropped 2,1percent while the top 40 index was 2,3percent lower. The decline was felt across the board.
Among the biggest losers were Naspers, Sappi, Implats, Angloplat, Kumba, Standard Bank and MTN, nearly all losing more than four percent. Sappi was down more than eight percent.
The only real surprise was British American Tobacco (BAT), which bucked the trend, with the price rising by nearly six percent. Jonathan Fisher, a director of T-Sec, pointed out that BAT directors, in a vote of confidence, had been buying shares and the market had reacted similarly.