/ 29 August 2007

JSE off lows, eyes Wall Street

The JSE was off its earlier lows by midday on Wednesday as investors looked for value after the recent sharp sell-off.

After starting weaker on the back of a sharp fall on Wall Street overnight, the JSE was looking a little better late morning. The Dow shed 2% on Tuesday and Tokyo shares ended down 1,7%, but London shares have turned around and the FTSE100 is trading 15 points in the black.

Dow Jones Newswires is reporting that United States stock futures are rising on Wednesday after the last session’s battering. S&P 500 futures rose 6,4 points, Nasdaq 100 futures rose 12,75 points, while the Dow industrial futures climbed 58 points.

By midday on the JSE, the all-share index was off 0,38%. Resources were off 0,20%, the gold-mining index gave up 1,08% and the platinum-mining index was 0,13% weaker. Industrials were 0,62% lower, financials shed 0,36% and banks retreated 0,65%. Earlier, most of theses indices had been down more than 1%.

The rand was bid at 7,26 to the US dollar from 7,25 when the JSE closed on Tuesday, while gold was quoted at $664,80 a troy ounce from $664,85oz at the JSE’s last close.

A Johannesburg-based equities trader said it felt like investors were looking for value after the recent sharp sell-off and they had identified key stocks that were offering value.

“The rand has also been stable and that is lending support,” he said.

He added that there is quite a bit of data due this week — both locally and in the US — and that would be watched closely.

South African producer inflation and money supply figures are due on Thursday and trade data on Friday, while in the US, GDP, job claims, personal income, personal spending, the Chicago PMI and UoM consumer sentiment will offer insight into the US economy.

Among resources stocks, London-listed resource giant Anglo American was down R2,45 to R395,05 after touching a low of R388,81 earlier. BHP Billiton was up R2,05, or 1,03%, at R200,25. Sasol was down R4,19, or 1,52%, at R270,80.

Among gold shares, AngloGold Ashanti was down R3,78, or 1,40%, at R266,27, Gold Fields shed 50 cents to R107 and Harmony gave up 150 cents, or 2,24%, to R65,50.

Among platinum stocks, Anglo Platinum shed R3,25 to R911,75 and Impala Platinum was off 29 cents at R190,71.

Brewer SABMiller was off R1,40 to R185,55 while services group Bidvest shed 200 cents, or 1,46%, to R135.

Imperial Holdings was down R1,04 to R135,96. Earlier the group reported a 17% rise in headline earnings per share to 1 434 cents for the year ended June from 1 222 cents a year ago. Diluted HEPS were up 16% to 1 330 cents from a previous 1 148 cents.

The annual distribution to shareholders was up 18% to 560 cents per share, consisting of interim and final distributions of 280 cents each.

Supermarket group Shoprite firmed 20 cents to R30,95. It reported a 33,3% increase in diluted headline earnings per share from continuing operations to 194,3 cents for the year ended June from 145,8 cents a year ago.

The group’s total dividend is envisaged to increase 38,4% to 101 cents per share.

Cellular group MTN was up 26 cents to R102,25. Earlier this morning it reported adjusted headline earnings per share of 324,7 cents for the six months ended June from 278,5 cents a year ago.

The group said its number of subscribers has risen 20% to 48,2-million. MTN’s revenue for the interim period was 69% higher at R34,2-billion, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation grew 75% to R15,2-billion.

Cement maker PPC was a feature, with large volume of 3,6-million shares changing hands. The share was down 119 cents, or 2,69%, at R43.

Among banks and financial stocks, Standard Bank was off 25 cents at R99,80, Absa shed 168 cents, or 1,31%, to R126,96 and Nedbank eased 420 cents, or 3,11%, to R130,80.

Old Mutual eased two cents to R22,03. — I-Net Bridge