JSE slightly lower on miners

South African stocks were slightly lower at midday on Wednesday as heavily weighted miners continue to falter on falling metal prices, while other investors refrained from making any large moves ahead of Wall Street opening.

At midday, the broader all-share index had was off 0,18% at 28 533,810. Resources were down 0,77% and the gold- and platinum-mining indices lost 1,58% and 1,48% respectively.
But industrials gained 0,15%, financials added 0,98% and banks climbed 1,24%.

The rand was bid at 7,70 to the United States dollar from 7,68 when the JSE closed on Tuesday, while gold was quoted at $903,25 a troy ounce from $916,95/oz at the JSE’s last close.

The market rallied late in the session on Tuesday after US billionaire Warren Buffett offered to help out three troubled bond insurers by reinsuring $800-billion in municipal bonds.

“Europe is not looking very good. They are probably waiting for the [Bank of England] inflation data later today [Wednesday],” one trader said.

Traders said the bourse was likely to hover around these levels as it waited for further direction from Wall Street.

Although banks and financials posted strong gains, the gains were not enough to offset losses among heavily weighted miners, which weighed on the overall index.

Resource giant Anglo American was off R3,66 at R458 but BHP Billiton inched up 84 cents to R234,34.

Petrochemicals group Sasol slipped 1,85%, or R6,97, to R370,43.


Among gold counters, AngloGold Ashanti fell 1,21%, or R3,24, to R265,26, Gold Fields lost 1,30%, or R1,36, to R103,64 and Harmony tumbled 2,64%, or R2,01, to R74.

Pressured by a weakening white metal price on speculation that the price surge might have been overdone, platinum miner Anglo Platinum dropped 3,85%, or R47,99, to R1 197,01 and Lonmin was down R2,14 to R489,86.

Among banks and financials, Nedbank rallied 3,40%, or R3,50, to R106,49 and Standard Bank added 1,36%, or R1,20, to R89,20.

Life insurer Sanlam was up 1,07%, or 20 cents, to R18,95 and Old Mutual inched up 10 cents to R18,35.

In the news, ArcelorMittal SA, the South African arm of the world’s largest steel producer, reported a 21% rise in its diluted headline earnings per share for the year to end December 2007.

Shares in the company fell 3,28%, or R5,57, to R164,23.


United Kingdom-based real-estate investment trust Liberty International hardly moved (up one cent) at R149,25. It earlier reported a 6% rise in adjusted earnings per share to 36 pence for the year ended December from 33,9 pence a year ago.

Tile retailer Italtile was flat at R4,05. It earlier reported an 11% rise in diluted headline earnings per share to 17,4 cents for the six months ended December from 15,7 cents a year ago.—I-Net Bridge

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