JSE, world markets sharply lower

The JSE remained sharply weaker by midday on Wednesday, in line with other world markets, which were also experiencing a bumpy ride.

At noon, the JSE’s all-share index was 2,97% in the red. The gold- and platinum-mining indices slumped 4,09% and 4,07% respectively, while resources were off 3,27%. Banks retreated 2,88%, financials dipped 2,4% and industrials were down 2,84%.

The rand was bid at 6,91 to the United States dollar from 6,75 when the JSE closed on Tuesday, while gold was quoted at $883,03 a troy ounce from $911,85/oz at the JSE’s last close.

“The JSE is down — everything across the board has been smashed because of overseas markets,” said a local equities trader.

Disappointing results on Tuesday from Citigroup and weaker US December retail sales data led to a sharp sell-off on Wall Street overnight, and it fuelled fears of a possible US recession.

Wall Street’s DJIA lost 2,17%, the Nasdaq fell 2,45% and the S&P 500 pulled back 2,49%. In the United Kingdom on Wednesday, the FTSE 100 eased 0,78%, but in Asia, the Hang Seng slumped 5,37% and the Nikkei retreated 3,35%.

The trader said that there was a general rotation out of equities. He added that the gold-mining sector was down the most on the JSE as a result of a lower gold price and profit-taking. Gold shares have recently rallied on a higher gold price.

At noon, resource group Anglo American was off R7,20, or 1,86%, to R379, BHP Billiton fell R6,30, or 3,15%, to R194 and Sasol tumbled R18,67, or 5,49%, to R321,33.

Gold miner AngloGold Ashanti was R15,10, or 4,49% weaker, at R321 and Goldfields lost R4,61, or 3,91%, to R113,39.

Platinum-mining group Anglo Platinum gave up R48, or 4,07%, to R1 132, Impala Platinum declined R11,04, or 4,17%, to R253,97 and Lonmin slipped R20,80, or 4,38%, to R453,80.

Building and construction group Basil Read was down R1,40, or 5,13%, to R25,90 and Raubex Group tumbled R4, or 9,64%, to R37,50.

Brewer SABMiller shed ten cents to R172,90, retailer Pick n Pay fell R1,56, or 4,51%, to R33, while Shoprite lost R1,70, or 4,35%, to R37,40. It earlier reported in a trading update that its turnover for the six months ended December 31 2007 increased by 21,8% to R23,3-billion.

Fixed-line operator Telkom gave up R4,62, or 3,48%, to R127,98 and MTN Group retreated R4, or 3,39%, to R114.

Banking group Absa decreased 48 cents, or 2,63%, to R17,80 and Standard bank dipped R3,21, or 3,38%, to R91,79. — I-Net Bridge

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