JSE opens flat on weaker rand following Cyril Ramaphosa’s land move

Image: KATHERINE MUICK-MERE

The JSE opened flat on Wednesday after the rand weakened more than 30c against the dollar following the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the ANC would seek to change the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation.

After aiming to break through R13 to the dollar on Tuesday‚ the rand weakened to R13.3866 in overnight trade‚ before recovering slightly to R13.2953.

Normally a weaker rand would support rand hedges‚ but trading in the big shares was mixed as the market mulled the effects of Rampahosa’s late-night "address to the nation" as ANC president.

The rand also came under some pressure on dollar strength‚ with the US currency firming at the expense of the euro after news that US and Chinese officials would meet again to discuss trade issues.

Market sentiment was subdued on the first trading day of August after the all share ended July 0.31% down.

Gold shares reacted positively to the rand‚ as marginal gold producers usually gain on a weaker currency. Platinum stocks were also higher but resources edged softer. Banks and financials were weaker.

Naspers was marginally higher at the opening‚ despite Tencent trading lower in Hong Kong trade. Naspers firmed 0.45% to R3‚256.73.

The Dow closed 0.43% higher‚ supported by Apple’s results for the second quarter‚ which were better than expected. The Nikkei 225 was up 0.86% on Wednesday‚ but the Hang Seng slipped 1.14%.

The market was eyeing the US Federal Reserve’s interest-rate decision in the evening. No change is expected‚ but Fed officials could provide further clues on the rate trajectory later in the year at a media conference.

The Fed has already increased rates twice in 2018 and Fed officials have indiacted two more interest-rate increases could be in the offing if the economy continues on its current growth path.

Brent crude was 0.34% lower at $73.82 a barrel with gold and platinum prices trending lower.

At 10.01am the all share was up 0.02% at 57‚443.10 points and the top 40 rose 0.01%. The gold index rose 2.07%‚ platinums 1.09%‚ industrials 0.42% and property 0.35%. Banks lost 1.32%‚ general retailers 0.95% and financials 0.71%.

BHP shed 1.01% to R299.11.

AngloGold Ashanti rose 2.49% to R117.82.

FirstRand lost 2.31% to R67.67 and MMI Holdings 0.59% to R16.90.

Resilient rose 1.33% to R52.39 but Intu dropped 1.1% to R29.73 among property stocks.

Mondi plc rose 1.48% to R366.23.

X