THE JSE finished weaker for the second straight session on Friday, with commodity shares hard hit amid global economic growth concerns.

At 5pm local time, the JSE all-share index was down 1,2% to 34188,87 points, with resources sliding 2,81%, gold shares dropping 3,76% and platinum counters tumbling 3,81%.

Financials were flat (-0,04%), banking stocks inched up 0,14% and industrials lost 1,02%.

The rand weakened to R8,42 to the dollar, from R8,31 at the JSE's close on Thursday, while gold was quoted at $1563,75 a troy ounce from $1582,52/oz at the JSE's previous close. Platinum was at $1432,50/oz, from $1451,20/oz previously.

"Global equities, including the JSE, were pushed up in anticipation of the possibility of an aggressive stimulus package from the US Federal Reserve and, as we all now know, that didn't happen," said Ian Cruickshanks, market watcher at Nedbank Capital. "The fundamental economic data this week have not been looking good either, triggering some short term profit taking."

US stocks opened higher on Friday, however, in the wake of Thursday's sharp losses, led by shares of financial companies as investors shrugged off a much-anticipated round of bank downgrades by Moody's rating agency, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Moody's lowered the credit ratings of more than a dozen large banks worldwide, citing significant exposure to the volatility and risk of large losses from capital markets activities. Investors had been bracing for downgrades since Moody's said in February that it was reviewing more than 100 global banks.

At 5.20 local time, the Dow Jones was up 0,51 points. In Europe, London's FTSE was down 0,84% in late trade.

mahlangua@bdfm.co.za