JSE slightly weaker on miners

South African stocks were slightly lower at noon on Tuesday, pressured by miners on faltering metal prices, but improved sentiment in overseas markets restricted losses, traders said.

At noon, the JSE’s broader all-share index had given up 0,19% at 30 056,80. Resources fell 0,79%, the gold and platinum mining indices were down 0,17% and 0,03% respectively. But industrials were up 0,26%, financials added 0,68% and banks improved 1,31%.

The rand was bid at 7,93 to the US dollar from 7,96 when the JSE closed on Monday, while gold was quoted at $977,05 a troy ounce from $969,23 at the JSE’s last close.

“We are still under a bit of strain, but we are much better than this morning. Mining stocks continue to be under pressure on wobbly precious metal prices but a weakening dollar could help revive [metal prices],” one Johannesburg-based trader said.

Traders said the local bourse looked set to turn the corner on speculation that Wall Street was likely to bounce back, taking solace from firmer European counterparts.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 is up 1,27%, Paris CAC 40 is up 1,04% and the Composite Dax is 0,66% firmer.

On the JSE, resource heavyweight Anglo American was down 1,31%, or R6,60, to R498,50 and BHP Billiton lost 1,03%,or R2,50, to R239,50.

Petrochemicals group Sasol fell R3,10 to R413,50 despite the oil price being on the rampage.

Gold miner AngloGold Ashanti slipped R2,07 to R279,93, but Harmony gained 1,42%, or R1,50, to R107,50.

The world’s largest platinum producer Anglo Platinum collected 2,11%, or R26, to R1 259 but Impala Platinum slumped 1,60%, or R5, to R308.

In the news, tile retailer Ceramic Industries, which reported interim losses, tumbled 4,99%, or R4,99, to R95,11. It reported that its headline earnings per share for the six months to January 31 2008 had dipped by 18,6% to 460,2 cents.

A drop of 7,1% in dividend per share to 130 cents was also reported.

Construction group Stefanutti & Bressan rallied 6,77%, or R1,28, to R20,18, after saying it planned to buy international construction group Stocks Limited for R1,12-billion.

Banking group Standard Bank was up 90 cents to R93,90, Nedbank gained 99 cents to R110,50, Absa was 40 cents better at R101,40 and FirstRand lifted 1,73%, or 28 cents, to R16,50. - I-Net Bridge

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