/ 6 March 2008

Resource stocks send JSE north

Firm resource stocks helped the JSE extend its gains by midday on Thursday, even though bank and financial counters were softer.

By noon, the JSE’s broader all-share index lifted 1,17%, led by a 1,94% advance in resources. The gold mining index recovered 0,98% while the platinum mining index edged up 0,04%. Industrials gained 0,62%, financials shed 0,07% and banks were down 0,37%.

The rand was bid at 7,79 to the US dollar from 7,80 when the JSE closed on Wednesday, while gold was quoted at $986,50 a troy ounce from $974,78 at the JSE’s last close. The platinum price was up $1 at $2 249/oz.

“The JSE is firm, but it is still sector specific. We are still seeing the mining stocks dominating this market because of higher commodity prices and a weak rand,” said an equities trader.

Looking at PPI data released before midday, the trader said the inflation data was expected and wasn’t having much of an effect on the JSE.

South Africa’s producer price index (PPI) rose by 10,4% year-on-year (y/y) in January according to the new index series, from a 10,3% year-on-year (y/y) increase in December based on the old series, Statistics South Africa data on Thursday showed.

The PPI rose 1% on a monthly basis after December’s monthly increase of 0,5%.

PPI was expected to be at 10,4% y/y in January, a survey by I-Net Bridge has found. Forecasts ranged from 10% y/y to 10,9% y/y.

“There is no impact from PPI. Right now, the guys are just looking at what commodity prices and the currency are doing,” said the trader.

On the JSE, resource heavyweights Anglo American perked up R14,50, or 2,76%, to R540, BHP Billiton was R6,89, or 2,72% better, at R260,30 and Sasol collected R6, or 1,52%, to R401.

Exxaro strengthened R7,35, or 6,53%, to R119,85.

AngloGold Ashanti dipped R2,50 to R286,50, but Gold Fields climbed R2,85, or 2,42%, to R120,70 and Harmony gained R2,21, or 2,13%, to R106,20.

Anglo Platinum was up R13, or 1,01%, to R1 298, Impala Platinum eased R3 to R347 and Lonmin was R12,40, or 2,32% firmer, at R548.

Diversified industrial group Bidvest advanced R3,26, or 2,79%, to R120,01 and Barloworld strengthened R4,55, or 4,42%, to R107,55.

Elsewhere, Absa pulled back R1,53, or 1,42%, to R105,97 but Standard Bank inched up 12 cents to R92,12.

Life assurer Sanlam collected 62 cents, or 3,44%, to R18,62, even though it reported that its diluted headline earnings per share for the year ended December 31 2007 had dipped by 28% to 220,8 cents. – I-Net Bridge