JSE buoyed by industrial and financial shares
Financial and industrial stocks were credited with pushing the JSE's all-share index up 0.75%, while the JSE top-40 index rose 0.75%. This was despite fears of another bloodbath at Marikana caused by inter-union rivalry at the Lonmin platinum mine.
However, stocks were not completely immune — investors sold mining stocks, pushing prices down. Commodity prices were also down, with gold dropping 1.48% and platinum 1.2%.
Popular retailer Woolworths reached an all-time high this week, gaining 3.58% to R80.25, while Naspers shares were up 5.73% to R699.10 on the back of strong first quarter results from its Hong Kong-based company, Tencent, in which Naspers has a stake.
Not even early threats of a possible downgrade for South Africa by Moody's on the back of further unrest served to curb interest.
Moody's later denied that a downgrade was on the cards in the near future, saying that the September downgrade had been based on a 12- to 18-month evaluation.
The impact of labour issues at platinum mines could clearly be seen this week, with Lonmin shares staying largely flat at R37.68, while Anglo Platinum was down 0.83% to R298.50 on Wednesday in the midst of negotiations.
Lonmin's shares dropped slightly on Tuesday after workers downed tools on Tuesday to demand that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union be awarded full recognition. Lonmin's shares dropped somewhat immediately on the news.
Gold did not fare much better, with Gold Fields closing 4.39% lower, at R57.32, while AngloGold Ashanti was down 3.09% to R165.23. The metal also lost ground, closing 1.48% down and platinum was down 1.2%.
Gold dropped to a three-week low in New York on Wednesday, as a stronger dollar reduced demand for the metal.
Data released by Statistics South Africa showed that retail trade sales were up 2.8% year on year in March.
Although the data were lower than some expected, it was also felt that real wage increases continued to offset the effect of slowing credit growth.