Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

THE JSE on Friday shrugged off negative comment on president Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address, as well as weaker Asian markets, to deliver one of its best performances so far this year.

The all share climbed more than 3% at one stage, before giving back some of those gains toward the close, as the rally in mining shares continued and banks, industrials, retailers and property stocks joined in on the positive sentiment to record broad-based gains.

The all share ended the week 2.34% weaker, with Friday being the only day resulting in a positive close. The all share is now down 4.15% to date this year.

Barclays Research said global markets stabilised on Friday but the question was for how long this upturn would last.

The global equity bear market seen earlier in the week deepened in the Asian trading session, but European equities did an about-turn later in the day. The Nikkei closed down almost 5%, while European indices were mostly up by more than 1% with bank stocks leading the way as investor concerns about the sector declined, Barclays said.

At the JSE’s close the FTSE 100 was 1.98% higher and the Dax had gained 1.86%. The Dow Jones industrial average opened 0.62% firmer.

At 5pm, the JSE all share closed 2.48% higher at 48,589.70 points and the blue-chip top 40 index had risen 2.53%. Platinums climbed 6.55% and resources added 5.33%. The gold index rose 2.84% and banks were 2.29% higher. Industrials firmed 1.96%.

Analysts warned, however, that negative and cautious sentiment still prevailed and stocks were likely to remain volatile in the foreseeable future.

Barclays Research analyst Peter Worthington said in recent weeks it had seemed that the government, alive to the risks of a rating downgrade, might be pulling together a bold new approach to spur growth, narrow the budget deficit and avoid a downgrade.

He said the state of the nation address, however, did not unveil any new big confidence-boosting initiatives, and in several areas it glossed over the problems.

"Markets may be disappointed in the address, wanting — at this critical economic juncture — some bold and innovative policies to address the challenges facing SA."

Investors must hope that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who had in recent weeks been vigorously insisting the government would do "everything necessary to avoid a downgrade," would present a variety of confidence-boosting measures in his budget on February 24, Mr Worthington said.

Among individual shares on the JSE, Anglo American saw its share price rally 14.86% to R82.47, Kumba Iron Ore jumped 13.16% to R49.62 and ArcelorMittal soared 24.19% to R7.70.

Barloworld surged 9.04% to R68.04.

Sibanye Gold was up 6.78% to R50.54 and Harmony ended the day 7.40% higher at R44.

Impala Platinum jumped 6.85% to R35.26.

Barclays Africa was 4.17% higher at R146.50.

Construction group Murray & Roberts gained 7.22% to R9.50. The share is now up 18.75% this year.

Among property stocks Growthpoint added 1.51% to R23.60.

MTN Group recovered 3.85% to R139.10.