South African stocks remained lower at noon on Friday as the mining sector continued to take a pounding on weaker commodity prices.
At 12.02pm, the all-share index was down 1,03%. Resources fell 2,15%, while the gold and platinum mining indices lost 1,37% and 0,65% respectively. Banks shed 0,27% but financials collected 0,16% and industrials added 0,14%.
The rand was bid at 7,57 to the US dollar from 7,59 when the JSE closed on Thursday, while gold was quoted at US$879.30 a troy ounce from $882,65/oz at the JSE’s last close.
The market remained unsettled by talk that rising commodity prices are a “bubble in the making”, as demand has been exacerbated by index speculators, which made it unsustainable, one trader said.
“Miners are under pressure following a sharp drop in commodity prices last night. Otherwise, there is also an underlying bearish sentiment due to higher inflation and interest rates,” one trader said.
On the resource index, Anglo American was fell R12,80, or 2,46%, to R508 and BHP Billiton was down R8,20, or 2,77%, to R287,30.
Copper futures traded on the Shanghai Futures Exchange settled sharply lower on Friday, after three-month London Metal Exchange copper fell below the key psychological level of $8 000, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
Synthetic fuels maker Sasol slipped R13, or 2,65%, to R477 as Brent crude futures retreated from the $130 per barrel level overnight.
Pressured by weaker bullion price, which remained below the $900/oz level, miner AngloGold Ashanti was off R2,60 to R271,40. Gold Fields was down R1,06, or 1,07%, to R98,20 and Harmony gave up R2,31, or 2,50%, to R90,19.
Platinum miner Anglo Platinum was down R10,10 at R1 329,90 and Impala Platinum dipped R4,10, or 1,24%, to R326. Platinum stayed below the psychological level of $2 000/oz. It was last trading at $1 985/oz.
Elsewhere, mobile phone group MTN was down 75 cents at R150,25 amid media speculation that it plans to buy 74% of India’s Reliance Communications in cash and stock swap deal.
Citing unnamed sources, the Economic Times reports that MTN would sign an agreement to take up to 74% in Reliance Communications through a share swap, with the minority given the option of selling their shares in an open offer.
Among industrials, brewer SABMiller was up R2,26, or 1,18%, to R194,50 and luxury goods firm Richemont edged up five cents to R46,89. – I-Net Bridge