/ 30 April 2008

JSE weak in quiet trade, miners weigh

South African stocks were weaker at noon on Wednesday with miners under pressure on retreating metal prices, but the session was quiet as most traders are still away on a long weekend break.

South African markets were closed on Monday for a holiday and are also closed on Thursday and Friday this week, with many players away for the two days in between.

At noon, the JSE’s broader all-share index was down 0,46%, with the gold and platinum mining indices down 1,47% and 1,65% respectively. Resources were 0,83% in the red.

Banks were off 0,16%, industrials weakened 0,09% but financials inched up 0,03%.

The rand was bid at 7,59 to the US dollar from 7,57 when the JSE closed on Tuesday, while gold was quoted at $866,60 a troy ounce from $878,43/oz at the JSE’s last close.

Investors are unlikely to make any significant moves during the session as they await the interest rate verdict in the US later in the day, when the US Federal Reserve is widely expected to cut interest rates by a quarter of a percent to 2%, trader said.

“Metal prices are not encouraging this morning. Platinum has pulled back from the highs and gold has not done much to recoup yesterday’s losses,” one trader said.

On the resource index, Anglo American edged up R3,49 to R486 but BHP Billiton was off 1,63%, or R4,43, to R266,60.

Synthetic fuels maker Sasol fell 1,39%, or R6, to R427.

Kumba Iron Ore rallied 2,33%, or R7,31, to R321,30 and African Rainbow Minerals slumped 3,09%, or R8, to R251.

Gold miner AngloGold Ashanti weakened 2,32%, or R6,04, to R253,96, and Gold Fields was down 1,09%, or R1,10, to R99,90.

Among platinum miners Anglo Platinum shed 1,39%, or R17,03, to R1 208 and Impala Platinum slipped 2,09%, or R6,48, to R304,03.

Among industrials, Swiss-based luxury goods group Richemont was up 1,44%, or 65 cents, to R45,65 and brewer SABMiller firmed 1,06%, or R1,84, to R175,84.

Banking group Standard Bank added 35 cents to R88,35 but FirstRand eased 14 cents to R15,67.

Elsewhere, airline operator Comair -‒ which operates kulala.com and British Airways — jumped 8,70%, or 20 cents, to R2,50 on news that its competitor Nationwide had stopped all flight operations.

Budget airline 1Time (1TM) was up 2,86%, or two cents, to 72 cents. – I-Net Bridge