/ 30 August 2007

JSE stays firm, platinums strong

The JSE remained firm at midday on Thursday, with platinum miners a feature following strong results from Impala Platinum earlier in the day. A 2% gain on Wall Street overnight and generally firm global bourses were also helping.

By noon, the all-share index was 0,82% higher. Resources were 0,75% better, the gold-mining index advanced 0,90% and the platinum-mining index was 2,38% stronger. Industrials were 0,97% higher, financials collected 0,69% and banks advanced 1,10%.

The rand was bid at 7,19 to the US dollar from 7,20 when the JSE closed on Wednesday, while gold was quoted at $665,25 a troy ounce from $666,75/oz at the JSE’s last close. In London the FTSE100 was last up 60 points.

“The gains are fairly widespread across the board. It’s still quite volatile but we continue to see some buying interest after being hard hit recently,” said a local equities trader.

He added that there was some bargain hunting in industrials and banks, and in some of these stocks such as Tiger Brands, Sasol, Billiton and Anglos there is a potential for further improvement.

“We are seeing value in these big stocks and we are seeing good investor interest there,” he added.

Traders said results from Impala Platinum this morning (Thursday) and Murray & Roberts late yesterday had been well received by the market.

“Platinum stocks in general are looking very good. The Impala results this morning have helped the sector and the platinum price is also steady,” he said.

Impala, the world’s second largest platinum producer, increased its profit by 67% to R7,3-billion in its financial year to end June 2007 from R4,4-billion in 2006.

Headline earnings per share increased by 75% to R13,12 from R7,50 and the company declared a final dividend of R7 per share, which brings the total dividend for FY07 to R9,75, which is lower than last year’s total dividend of R10,88 per share.

Implats reported a 10% increase in production to a record 2,026-million ounces during the year.

The share was last up 705 cents, or 3.61%, at R202,30.

Among other platinum stocks, Anglo Platinum added R9,50, or 1,04%, to R919,50 and Northam Platinum was up 90 cents, or 1,78%, to R51,40.

Late on Wednesday construction and civil engineering group Murray & Roberts reported a 77% boost in headline earnings per share to 325 cents for the 12 months ended June. This was achieved on the back of a 61% growth in revenues to R17,9-billion.

A final dividend of 71 cents per share was declared, increasing the total dividend for the full year by 93% to 116 cents.

The company’s share price was up 80 cents, or 1,11%, to R72,80. Elsewhere in the sector Aveng collected 105 cents, or 2,08%, to R51,60 and Group Five was up 50 cents at R53,80.

Among resources stocks, London-listed resource giant Anglo American was down 33 cents to R396,10, but BHP Billiton added 85 cents to R202,60. Sasol collected R4,75, or 1,74%, to R277,55.

Among gold shares, AngloGold Ashanti (firmed 574 cents, or 2,12%, to R276,24, Gold Fields added 85 cents to R107,60, but Harmony eased 80 cents to R64,20.

Brewer SABMiller was up 94 cents to R187,94 and services group Bidvest added 99 cents, or 1,37%, to R135,99. Cellular group MTN rose 350 cents, or 3,37%, to R107,50 following strong results on Wednesday, while Telkom rose 422 cents, or 2,53%, to R171.

Among banks and financial stocks, Standard Bank was up 121 cents, or 1,20%, to R102,11, Absa added 212 cents, or 1,67%, to R129,13, but Nedbank shed 93 cents to R131,21.

Old Mutual added 13 cents to R22,55. — I-Net Bridge