JSE a tad higher ahead of Fed verdict

The JSE rose modestly at noon on Tuesday as investors became more optimistic that the United States Federal Reserve would cut interest rates, which would bolster Wall Street.

Investors cheered the news that Tokyo Sexwale’s Mevelaphanda group plans to buy up to 30% of Johncom’s to-be-formed Opco — an entity that will house Johncom’s media assets.

But they gave mixed views on the local Medium Term Budget Policy Statement with some saying they did not expect anything that would move the market and others waited for word on the inflation-targeting band.

At noon, the all-share index was up 0,22%. Resources fell 0,09%, the gold mining index gave up 0,16% but the platinum mining index was up 0,34%. Industrials added 0,46%, financials were up 0,38% and banks firmed 0,70%.

“The market is positive that the Fed would cut interest rates, which would boost the Dow,” one trader said, adding that investors were not expecting anything from the local Medium Term Budget Policy Statement — which provides clues for next year’s national budget.

But other traders said the statement, which would be delivered later this afternoon, was expected to shed light on the inflation-targeting band.

The CPIX has been breaching the upper band of the central bank’s inflation targeting band of 3% to 6% for the last five months, sparking a series of interest rate hikes and raising fears that economic growth might be hampered.

In the news, media group Johncom rallied to an all-time high on news that Tokyo Sexwale-led Mvelaphanda Group plans to buy up to 30% of Johncom’s Opco — an entity that will house Johncom’s media assets.

Shares in Johncom rose 3,45%, or R3,60, to R108 but Mvela lost 20 cents to R53,30.

On the resource index, Anglo American was off 19 cents to R446,81 and BHP Billiton eased R1,11 to R248,89.

Synthetics fuels maker Sasol gained R1,85 to R332,35.

Among gold counters, AngloGold Ashanti was up R2,95 to R299,95 but Gold Fields dropped 1,27%, or R1,50, to R116,50.

Platinum miner Anglo Platinum edged up R6 to R1 080 and Impala Platinum improved 60 cents to R238,60.

Elsewhere, cement maker Pretoria Portland Cement, whose year-end earnings beat analysts expectations, climbed 1,52%, or 72 cents, to R47,97.

Just before the market opened, the counter reported diluted headline earnings per share of 263 cents for the year ended September from 226 cents a year — an increase of 16%.

A final dividend of 166 cents and a special dividend of 61 cents were declared. The total dividend for the year was up 21% to 265,5 cents.

Retailer Massmart fell 64 cents to R83,96. It said earlier that for the 14 weeks to end September, total group sales grew 12,5% with comparable store sales growth of 10,7%. – I-Net Bridge

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