THE JSE ended lower on Tuesday, after reaching an all-time high on Monday, with no major external factors driving the market, except for some risk-off profit taking by investors ahead of big international policy announcements on Wednesday and Thursday.

"We have seen some end-of-month locking in of profits today after yesterday's high," said Ryan Wibberley, equity dealer at Investec Asset Management in Cape Town. "I am not surprised that we have come down, and there was a fair bit of selling in the banking space today. We had good runs on Friday and Monday with tremendous gains, so today we saw some selling."

He added: "The FTSE 100 has been flat most of the day and the US stocks opening was not much of a driver. The big drivers of the market remain to play out with the Fed, European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of England announcements on Wednesday and Thursday."

Markets are awaiting policy announcements from the US Federal Reserve, the ECB and the Bank of England in the next two days. They are expected to unveil further monetary easing measures to stimulate the US and eurozone economies.

The Fed, which began a two-day policymaking meeting on Tuesday, is scheduled to release its latest economic outlook on Wednesday afternoon and the ECB and the Bank of England are due to release their policy decisions on Thursday.

At 5pm local time, the JSE all-share index was down 1,03% to 34596,90 points, with banks suffering the most with a drop of 2,39%.

At 4.46pm local time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was a tad softer, shedding 0,06% to 13064,80, while in London, the FTSE 100 was also lower, weighed down by heavyweight BP, which gave up 4,4% after releasing disappointing second-quarter results. At 5pm local time, the FTSE 100 was 0,54%.

Among local big movers, Impala Platinum closed R2,66, or 2,01%, lower at R130; Northam Platinum shed 90 cents, or 3,39%, to R25,66; and Kumba Iron Ore lost R22,90, or 4,26%, to close at R515,10.