JSE.  Picture: MICHAEL BRATT
Picture: MICHAEL BRATT

THE JSE was in negative territory on Tuesday morning with miners pulling on the downside after good gains on Monday, while banks recovered some of their losses from the previous day.

At 9.51am the JSE all-share index was down 0.35% to 40,430.77 points, with resources and platinums shedding 0.86% and 0.70% respectively, while banks added 0.28%.

In the east the Japanese Nikkei 225 slipped 1.90% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng index was down 2.17% at 9.36am local time.

On the local front Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant announced a new minimum wage of R105 a day for farm workers.

"This is markedly higher than the R69 that the workers are currently paid. The significant increase is a concern for a number of reasons. Firstly, it could serve as another example that violent strike action leads to positive wage outcomes which could spill into yet another sector of the economy. Secondly, it will most certainly result in more job losses in the embattled agricultural industry. Thirdly, it could contribute to inflationary pressures in the economy if it leads to higher wages in other industries," Rand Merchant Bank said in a morning note.

"Against this development, it is worth noting that Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) reported a huge loss for 2012 as the wildcat strikes that rocked the mining sector last year drove revenue growth significantly lower. As a result of this loss, Amplats is considering cutting thousands of jobs and billions of rands of investment spending programmes," RMB said.

On the JSE, Northam Platinum gave back 0.89% to R39 after the platinum miner said on Tuesday that its earnings and headline earnings per share for the six months ended December last year are estimated to be between 30% and 45% lower than in the previous comparable period.

Impala Platinum slipped 0.97% to R167.36 and Anglo American Platinum dipped 0.89% to R443.56, after the world’s largest producer of the metal said on Monday it was reviewing its sales contracts to boost revenues after reporting an unprecedented loss for 2012‚ stemming largely from a two-month unprotected strike at its mines.

In gold, Harmony added 0.31% to R61.99 after surging 7.67% on Monday, after it announced a 28% increase in headline earnings per share to 158c in the quarter ended December. Gold Fields also added 0.31% to R108.34.

Nedbank gained 1.76% to R191.81, while Investec gave up 1.26% to R65.21.

Basil Read Holdings lost another 2.54% to R11.11 after giving up 1.72% on Monday.