Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

THE JSE closed higher on Friday as the market was buoyed by further stimulus hope from the Group of 20 (G-20) and rand hedges rallying on the weaker rand.

The rand dropped 40c against the dollar after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, in a hard-hitting statement on Friday afternoon, accused nameless people of "disrupting institutions and destroying reputations".

This followed news that the Hawks police unit requested him to answer certain questions on the activities of the South African Revenue Service on February 18, five days before the budget.

"I can categorically state that the Hawks have no reason to investigate me," Mr Gordhan said.

At 5pm the all share had closed 2.18% higher at 49,429.40 points. The all share ended the week 1% firmer, but was still 2.49% down for the year.

Resources led the gainers, up 3.13% and industrials firmed 2.33%. The gold index gained 1.32%, and financials firmed 1.11%, but platinums lost 0.96%. Banks were flat (+0.09%).

Barclays Research analysts said there were high hopes for G-20 stimulus emanating from the meeting in Shanghai. "But risk sentiment remains fragile," Barclays said.

European equities were higher and commodity prices gained on the higher oil price. At the JSE’s close the FTSE 100 was up 1.25% and the Paris CAC 40 gained 1.54%. The German DAX was 1.9% higher. The Dow Jones industrial average opened 0.52% higher.

The market was also supported by strong US data with a second estimate of US gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the fourth quarter coming in much higher than expected. Expected quarterly growth is now 1% from a consensus 0.4%.

Nedbank Private Wealth portfolio manager Kyle Burgess said markets staged a strong performance on Friday with resources flying as oil prices surged. "Equity markets also reacted to probable receding interest rate increases in the US."

However, he cautioned against overexuberance as not much in fundamentals had changed. "The glut in oil production remain as discussions about a production cut … have fallen apart."

Investors should tread carefully with a lot of volatility still expected, Mr Burgess said.

The banking reporting season next week could set the scene, with Standard Bank saying earnings were expected to rise between 20%-30%. But Mr Burgess expected the other big banks to report more moderate growth, probably in the 8%-12% range.

Among individual shares on the JSE, South32 rocketed 10.77% to R14.30 after announcing rationalisation steps on Thursday. Anglo American rose 4.74% to R99.67 after gaining more than 6% on Thursday.

Sasol was 4.38% higher at R434.24.

Among rand hedges, Richemont rebounded 4.47% to R101.64 and British American Tobacco climbed 3.76% to R867.81.

Platinum counter Northam closed 1.87% weaker at R33.15 after the miner reported a loss of R273m on Friday morning for the six months to end-December, compared with a profit of R354m a year ago.

After gaining more than 2% in earlier intraday trade Standard Bank ended the day 0.75% higher at R110.10. FirstRand rose 0.27% to R45.40.

Discovery rebounded 3.25% to R119.

Among property stocks, Intu gained 4.04% to R63.15. The group left its dividend for the full year to end-December unchanged at 13.7 pence.

Educational group Curro was 4.50% firmer at R45.99.