JSE stays firm on bargain-hunting

South African stocks remained in positive territory by noon on Friday, tracking movements in global markets with resources and precious metals holding firmly.

The JSE all-share index had gained 2,31%, with resources adding 4,40%, platinum counters gaining 4,98% and gold miners firming 5,11%.

Banks collected 0,99%, financials edged up 0,81% and industrials rose 0,81%.

The rand was last bid at R9,92 to the dollar, from R10,11 when the JSE closed on Thursday. Gold was quoted at $823,23 a troy ounce from $811,35/oz at the JSE’s last close, and platinum was at $936/oz from its previous close of $922,50/oz.

“After the recent hefty losses it’s nice to see an up day for a change,” a local trader said.

“We are tracking movements in world markets. Buying has come in at the current low levels. Metal prices are slightly better, on the back of the weaker dollar, so metal stocks are really benefiting at the moment.

“The rand has strengthened but at the moment it’s not really doing anything for local stocks.

“Maybe stocks in the US will continue this upward tick ahead of the inauguration. Locally, we will continue to watch and track international markets,” he added.

Dow Jones Newswires reports that European stocks gained, as investors looked to snap up bargains after the recent hefty sell off.

The FSTE was last up 2,12%.

Asian markets rose to recover some of the lost ground from the previous session as a weaker yen aided Japanese exporters and investors pinned hopes on an economic stimulus package from the incoming US administration.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended 2,6% higher and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0,1%.

US stocks are expected to rise sharply at the open, lifted by the government package for Bank of America with a relief rally on the cards, said Martin Slaney, trader at GFT Global Markets.

He called the DJIA to open up 114 points and the S&P 500 up 13 points.

On the JSE, Anglo American gained R11,46, or 6,08%, to R200 and BHP Billiton added R7,45, or 4,46%, to R174,50.

Petrochemicals giant Sasol was up R4,24, or 1,49%, to R288,24.

Highveld Steel rose R3,82, or 6,80%, to R60, ArcelorMittal was up R2,12, or 2,70%, to R80,63 and Kumba Iron Ore collected R5,12, or 3,66%, to R145,13.

Among gold miners, AngloGold Ashanti firmed R12,50, or 5,26%, to R250, Gold Fields added R4,13, or 5,34%, to R81,50 and Harmony rose R384, or 4,15% to R96,34.

Platinum miner Anglo Platinum jumped R31,41, or 6,48%, to R516,40, Impala Platinum was up R6, or 4,80%, to R131 and Lonmin collected R6,40, or 5,22%, to R129.

In diversified miners, African Rainbow rose R4,52, or 4,66%, to R101,52 and Exxaro was up R1,57, or 2,28%, to R70,57.

Brewer SABMiller added R3,95, or 2,55%, to R158,69, Barloworld collected R1,25, or 3,38%, to R38,25 and British American Tobacco firmed R6,65, or 2,61%, to R261,74.

Banker FirstRand was up 33 cents, or 2,26%, to R14,92 and all the other banks were flat.

Financial services group Old Mutual was up 9 cents, or 1,08%, to R154,65 and Sanlam added 36 cents, or 2,18%, to R16,85.

Media group Naspers gained R1,59, or 1,04%, to R154,65.

Retailer Foschini lost 45 cents to R47,05. The group said earlier that Christmas trading was above expectation across all divisions with sales growth for December of 9,9% and same store growth of 3%.

At its interim results Foschini had indicated that it expected the retail environment to be difficult for the remainder of the year as consumers have to contend with high interest rates and high inflation.

Group sales for the three months October to December 2008 increased by 8,7% with same store sales growing by 2,7%.

Steinhoff gained 67 cents, or 5,72%, to R12,38, Woolies was up 15 cents, or 1,19%, to R12,45 but JD Group gave up R1,50, or 4,01%, to R35,90.

Construction group Group Five collected 35 cents, or 1,04%, to R34,05 but WBHO was off R1,60, or 1,47%, to R107,40.

Murray & Roberts collected 27 cents to R46,77. The group said earlier that it intended to contest the reasons given by the Competition Commission for prohibiting a proposed merger between Murray & Roberts subsidiary Much Asphalt with a small asphalt producer in the Pretoria area.

MTN Group gained 77 cents to R100,27 and Telkom was up R1,42, or 1,31%, to R110,02.—I-Net Bridge

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