JSE little changed on lack of news

South African stocks pulled back from modest gains achieved in early deals to trade flat at noon on Monday, as traders struggled to find a clear-cut path.

At midday, the JSE’s broader all-share index was neither here nor there (+0,06%) at 32 154,700. Resources were up 0,20%, while the gold- and platinum-mining indices added 0,53% and 0,22% respectively.

But banks were down 0,44%, financials gave up 0,28% and industrials were flat (+0,03%).

The rand was bid at 7,66 to the dollar from 7,68 when the JSE closed on Friday, while gold was quoted at $882,75 a troy ounce from $874,30/oz at the JSE’s last close.

“The rand is stable, commodity prices haven’t done much either. There are no real catalysts. We’re probably going to consolidates around these levels in the absence of fresh news,” said Andrew Todd, a trader at BoE Private Clients.

On the resource index, Anglo American was off 48 cents at R509,02 and BHP Billiton lost R1,28 to R296,04, after failing to break the critical R300 level on Friday.

Synthetics fuels maker Sasol climbed 2,95%, or R14,10, to a new trading high of R492. The maker of motor fuels from coal earlier set an all-time high of R492,99 on the back of rising crude oil prices. Brent crude oil futures were last trading at $124,88.

Among gold counters, AngloGold Ashanti improved 1,98%, or R6, to R309 but Gold Fields was off 100 cents to R104,45.

Platinum producer Anglo Platinum collected R5,01 to R1 280,01 and Impala Platinum was up 49 cents to R344,49.

Among banks, Standard Bank fell 59 cents to R87,90 and Absa weakened 41 cents to R91,60.

Industrial heavyweight Barloworld tumbled 2,27%, or R2,60, to R112. It earlier reported diluted headline earnings per share (HEPS) for continuing operations of 340 cents for the six months ended March, up 104% from 166,3 cents a year ago.

HEPS from continuing operations were up 105% to 345,2 cents.

Consumer foods and healthcare products group Tiger Brands was R1,28 in the black at R157,43 despite its medicines supplies unit taking a R53,5-million fine for violating local antitrust laws.

“The fine was less than expected and the share price has already reflected the news. The market is now looking at the unbundling,” said Ferdi Heyneke, a trader at Afrifocus Securities.

Tiger Brands said it would finally spin off and separately list its healthcare unit, Adcock Ingram, by the end of its financial results. The unbundling had been set for April this year, but had to be delayed until the investigation into the drug price-fixing scandal had been completed.

Making its debut on the JSE, Eqstra was last trading at R19 with just over 600 000 shares having changed hands, putting it in the top-20 most active shares on the exchange.

Eqstra, a leasing and capital equipment group, was spun off from motor industrial group Imperial, whose share price adjusted 20,75%, or R15,55, to R59,50.

Elsewhere, construction group Group Five tumbled 3.03%, or R1,50, to R48. It said earlier it was leading a joint venture that landed two road contracts worth R3,5-billion in Gauteng. — I-Net Bridge

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