Profit-taking sees JSE give up gains

After opening firmer on Friday morning, the JSE had given up its gains by midday and was trading 125 points in the red. A local trader said that after the all-share index posted an all-time high of 32 440,9 earlier, the market saw some profit-taking, particularly in the resources stocks.


At 12.05pm, the JSE’s broader all-share index was off 0,39%, led by a 0,59% decline in resources, a 0,74% fall in financials and a 0,33% fall in banks.

However, gold miners were up 2,5% and platinum miners advanced 0,86%.

The rand was bid at 7,70 to the dollar from 7,56 when the JSE closed on Thursday, while gold was quoted at $888,05 a troy ounce from $882,75/oz at the JSE’s last close.

A weaker close in Asia and the softer London market were also playing a role, but the weaker rand was helping gold and platinum miners.

Resources giant Anglo American was down R5,54, or 1,07%, to R510, while BHP Billiton was down R3,69, or 1,24%, to R293 after setting a new record intraday high of R299,77 on Thursday.

A local trader said Billiton had failed to get through the R300 level, and that had prompted a pullback that spilled over into the rest of the resources sector.

He added Sasol was down R8,70, or 1,81%, to R471,50, which was surprising as the oil price is still very strong.

Among gold counters, AngloGold Ashanti rallied R10, or 3,39%, to R305, Harmony was up R2,10, or 2,28%, to R94,10 and Gold Fields was R1,43, or 1,37%, in the black at R106,10.

Gold Fields earlier reported March quarter headline earnings of R1,246-billion, or R1,91 a share, more than double December quarter’s headline earnings of R456-million, or 70 cents a share.

The company, which has recently been plagued by a spate of mine fatalities, said attributable gold production declined by 14% to 827 000 ounces, largely due to power disruptions in South Africa.

DRDGold jumped 12,5%, or 74 cents, to R6,65. It reported a March quarter net profit of R132-million from R84,5-million recorded in the December quarter.

The company, which is battling to breathe new life into its ERPM operations on the East Rand, said headline earnings per share were eleven times stronger than the December quarter’s 2,4 cents at 27,5 cents.

This was despite a 9% fall in production to 70 378oz.

Operating profit was up 199% to R142,2-million.

Platinum miner Anglo Platinum was up R11 to R1 276 and Impala Platinum improved R3 to R343.

Elsewhere, rumoured takeover target MTN Group added R1,10 to R155,60.

Industrial group Barloworld advanced R3,61, or 3,26%, to R114,51. Late on Thursday the group said that a strong operating performance in the Southern African equipment business and the non-recurrence of STC on the 2007 special dividend were expected to result in an increase in headline earnings per share from continuing operations by between 100% and 110% for the half-year to March 2008.

Among financials, Old Mutual was down 53 cents, or 2,8%, to R18,10, while Liberty was off R1,17, or 1,59%, to R72,50.

Among banks, Absa shed 49 cents to R92,79 and Standard Bank shed 40 cents to R88,60.—I-Net Bridge

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