UK’s FTSE 100 helps JSE advance

A firmer United Kingdom equities market added more support to the JSE by midday on Friday, lifting the bourse after a lacklustre start.

By noon, the broader all-share index had gained 0,6%. Banks collected 1,36% and financials advanced 0,65%. Industrials lifted 0,64% and resources were up 0,54%. The platinum mining index was 0,27% softer, while the gold mining index fell 2,58%.

The rand was bid at 7,72 to the US dollar from 7,81 when the JSE closed on Thursday, while gold was quoted at $915,70 a troy ounce from $899,78/oz at the JSE’s last close. The platinum price was off its all-time high of $1 855 an ounce on Thursday, and it was trading at $1 848.50/oz, up $2,50 from its close.

“We had a very negative day on the JSE yesterday [Thursday] as Dow futures and the FTSE dragged us lower. The only thing that supported our market was the weaker rand, and we had some resources climb, where we especially saw strength on the platinum mining index,” said a local trader, adding that industrial stocks were very weak.

He said that on Friday, the market had turned as the Dow ended on the upside and the UK’s FTSE 100 was also up.

By noon, the FTSE 100 had collected 1,21%, while overnight on Wall Street, the DJIA edged up 0,38%.

“The market has had a bit of a bounce and there is still a slight interest in platinum stocks as the platinum price continues to be very strong,” he said.

However, even though the platinum mining index had been up for most of the morning, it crept into the red just before midday.

“Industrials were also very oversold yesterday, so we are seeing a bit of buying interest coming back in,” said the trader, adding that market players are keeping an eye on the rand.

“But, I wouldn’t jump into this market at this point in time. The volatility in the market is still very high, so I would remain cautious,” he concluded.

On the JSE on Friday, resource group BHP Billiton recovered 80 cents to R222, Anglo American lifted R10,50, or 2,38%, to R452 but Sasol pulled back R1,56 to R349,44.

Gold miner AngloGold Ashanti fell R15,49, or 5,18%, to R283,50 and Harmony was off 71 cents to R76,50.

Anglo Platinum retreated R15,01, or 1,33%, to R1 115, but Impala Platinum advanced R14,99, or 5,51%, to R286,99 and Lonmin rose R13,35, or 3%, to R458,35.

Mondi was up R1,40, or 2,26%, to R63,40 and Mondi gained 49 cents to R54,92. Mondi advised earlier that it expects underlying earnings per share for the year ended December 2007 to be within a range of 44 to 48 euro cents per share, from its proforma 27 cents, while headline EPS are expected to be between 36 and 40 euro cents, versus a proforma 28,2 cents.

Brewer SABMiller eased R1,50 to R166,50.

Fixed-line operator Telkom improved R2,20, or 1,67%, to R134 and mobile operator MTN Group climbed R2,79, or 2,54%, to R112,79.

Banker Absa increased R1,29, or 1,32%, to R99,09 and Standard Bank firmed R1,30, or 1,51%, to R87,20.

Insurance company Mutual & Federal reported a 16,6% decline in fully diluted headline earnings per share to 287 cents for the year ended December from 344 cents a year ago. Its share price weakened 40 cents, or 1,83%, to R21,50. – I-Net Bridge

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