/ 20 November 2007

JSE lower on volatility among miners

Volatility in resource stocks, as well as in the mining indices, buried the JSE in the red at midday on Tuesday.

At noon, the all-share index gave up 0,69%, led by a 1,69% pull back in the gold-mining index. Resources dipped 1,59% and the platinum-mining index was off 0,42%. Financials eased 0,27% and banks were unchanged (+0,01%), but industrials inched up 0,15%.

The rand was bid at 6,71 to the United States dollar, unchanged from when the JSE closed on Monday, while gold was quoted at $788,30 a troy ounce from $784,95/oz at the JSE’s last close.

World markets were also volatile on subprime issues. Even though the United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 was 0,06% better, and the Hang Seng and Nikkei both advanced more than 1%, the JSE took a bizarre turn for the worse after opening in the black.

“Of late, the JSE has been going against indicators,” one trader said.

She added that there has been a lot of local futures activity that has been affecting the equity market, and the JSE was lower even though the US futures and world markets were higher.

“All metal stocks have come off, and we have had a lot of volatility in the market as there are still subprime issues, with mining stocks also seeing a lot of volatility,” she concluded.

“The drop in the JSE is resource based,” another trader said.

“It’s bizarre, I can only speculate that resources are lower because there has been a lot of corporate action and maybe we are seeing a bit of profit-taking, but I can’t pinpoint why the JSE is so weak,” he concluded.

By midday, resource group Anglo American weakened R14,50, or 3,55%, to R394,50.

According to a trader, Anglo could still be dropping because of BHP Billiton’s bid for Rio Tinto, but that couldn’t be the only reason for its fall. The trader said that if the deal didn’t go through, then Anglo would be the next target. Rio Tinto had rejected BHP’s offer already, but BHP has continued to court Rio. She also said that Anglo’s share rallied recently because of the potential consequences, but its share price could now be falling as the news quietens down.

Taking a look at other stocks on the local bourse, Melbourne-based resource group BHP Billiton was R5,32 rand, or 2,5% lower, at R207,43 but petrochemical group Sasol shot up R14, or 4,23%, to R345.

Gold miner AngloGold Ashanti was off R4,62, or 1,6%, to R284,88 and Goldfields slumped R2,09, or 1,79%, to R114,50.

Platinum counter Anglo Platinum was down R20, or 2,13%, to R920, but Impala Platinum firmed R2,45, or 1,11%, to R223,70.

Among industrial stocks, Swiss-based luxury goods group Richemont eased 17 cents to R45,22. Richemont said on Monday it is considering restructuring its business to split its luxury goods operations from its other interests, which include its interest in British American Tobacco.

Brewer SABMiller added R1 to R182, but food processor Tiger Brands fell R4,01, or 2,24%, to R174,99.

Banker ABSA dipped R1,24 to R129,25 and Standard Bank retreated 25 cents to R107,80 rand, but Nedbank was up R2,25, or 1,62%, to R140,75. — I-Net Bridge