JSE. Picture: MICHAEL BRATT
Picture: MICHAEL BRATT

THE JSE closed lower on Thursday due to some profit taking after a week of strong gains and in line with softer global markets.

At 5pm, the JSE all share index closed 0.22% down at 38,676.70 points, with banks gaining 0.35%, while resources gave back 0.78% on the day after a good run this week.

"Resources are down a bit due to the US Federal Reserve’s additional monetary stimulus announcement on Wednesday, with the additional stimulus already priced into the markets. The Fed’s announcement has led to a stronger greenback and therefore the gold price has fallen from $1,708 per fine ounce on Wednesday to levels around $1,693 today," a local trader said.

Markets sentiment was initially positive on Thursday due to the US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s decision on Wednesday to go ahead with further monetary easing, with Operation Twist being transformed into outright purchases of long-term government bonds. Equities however dropped in response to Mr Bernanke’s warning that the announced measures would not be enough to fully offset the effects of a potential fiscal cliff.

Leading European bourses were trading in negative territory on Thursday afternoon with the UK FTSE 100 0.18% softer at 5pm. US stocks were flat (0.08%) at 5.11pm.

Investors continued to hold their breath as they watched lawmakers’ debt negotiations in advance of the so-called fiscal cliff, Dow Jones Newswires reported. Investors also digested the Fed’s new plan to keep interest rates near zero until the unemployment rate fell to 6.5% or lower.

On the JSE, Anglo American shed 2.08% to R258.99 and Sasol lost 2.03% to close at R361.89.

Gold Fields lifted 1.1% to close at R101.38 and Barloworld gained a further 2.71% to R82.17.

Richemont was off 1.61% at R67.10, but the counter has made huge gains in the past few months.

In the banking sector, African Bank jumped 3.16% to R30.99, despite trading ex-dividend.

Construction group Aveng added 2.38% to close at R30.50 and Basil Read Holdings improved 3.28% to close at R10.70.