JSE: CPIX data aids banks

South African stocks remained volatile by noon on Wednesday as resources flip-flopped around, but a CPIX (consumer inflation less mortgage costs) reading in line with expectations aided banks.

By noon, the all-share index was in the black by 0,17%, with banks cheering up by 1,27% and financials by 0,17%. Resources added 0,43%, with gold up 1,88% and platinum 1,12%. Industrials, though, retreated by 0,18%.

Industrials were the laggards on the day so far, but a senior stock dealer feels the positive financial vibe may filter through to this sector during the afternoon session.

The rand was bid at 7,77 to the dollar from 7,78 when the JSE closed on Tuesday, while gold was quoted at $832,65 a troy ounce from $828,20/oz at the JSE’s last close. Platinum was last at $1 439,50/oz, from $1 429 overnight. Brent crude futures were last up by 0,98% to $115,75 an ounce.

“The fall in industrials is not huge, but SAB is down about 2%. It has been a fairly volatile day due to resources, as at one stage we were up nicely,” said senior dealer from Cortex Securities Martin Lentsoane.

He said that resources had “no idea if they want to be positive or negative”.

Lentsoane added that CPIX was in line with expectations at 13% and some bank stocks enjoyed the result and expectations that inflation may start peaking. He said this more positive view may filter through to industrials during the afternoon.

“A possible negative is the United States and FTSE turning negative,” he concluded.

Dow Jones Newswires reports US stocks finished mostly higher on Tuesday, as banks and lenders like Lehman Brothers Holdings recouped some of their recent losses, and as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continued their rebound, despite another round of uninspiring housing and economic reports.

On the JSE, resource giant Anglo American edged up 55 cents to R403,54, but BHP Billiton lost 50 cents to R240.

Synthetic fuels maker Sasol collected 75 cents to R414,75.

Gold miner AngloGold Ashanti gained a healthy R2,50, or 1,22%, to R207,50, with Gold Fields up by R1,92, or 2,78%, to R70,92.

Among platinum miners Anglo Platinum was R8,01 to the good at R933 while Impala Platinum added R2,65, or 1,22%, to R219,65.

Mobile carrier MTN lost 40 cents to R111,60, while Telkom was R1,50, or 1,11%, in the black at R136,75.

Telkom said on Tuesday that talks are ongoing with a consortium that is considering making an offer for the fixed-line telephone operator.

Telkom recently received a letter from a consortium comprising Mvelaphanda Holdings, affiliated funds of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group and other strategic funders, stating that it is considering making an offer for the entire issued share capital of Telkom subject to a number of pre-conditions, inter alia, confirmation by the Telkom board that it will unbundle Telkom’s entire 50% stake in Vodacom as part of the offer.

Tiger Brands was 35 cents weaker at R126 after the unbundling dust of Adcock Ingram settled. On Monday, approximately 172,6-million Adcock Ingram ordinary shares were listed on the main board of the JSE in the “Pharmaceuticals” sector. Adcock Ingram’s share price opened at R35 on Monday and was last at R34.

Brewer SABMiller lost R3,35, or 2,04%, to R160,50 and Richemont dipped by 107 cents, or 2,42%, to R43,13. Remgro eked out a mere six cents to R184,31.

Banking group Standard Bank collected 25 cents to R85,25 and Nedbank gained a healthy R2,19, or 2,16%, to R103,40. Absa added R1,32, or 1,29%, to R104, while FirstRand gained 46 cents, or 3,02%, to R15,70. — I-Net Bridge

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Evan Pickworth
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