Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

THE JSE closed slightly firmer on Friday as a weaker rand gave industrials a slight boost.

The softer currency contributed to generally higher rand hedges with commodities following a slight increase in the oil price. At the JSE’s close the rand had lost 0.50% on the day to $13.7144/$.

After the significant anticipation regarding the various central bank meetings this week, markets appeared somewhat fatigued, analysts at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) said.

The US Federal Reserve, as well as the Reserve Bank, kept rates unchanged in the week, with the Reserve Bank intimating the rate-tightening cycle may be coming to an end soon. The Fed indicated one more hike this year was possible, but rates were likely to remain low for a longer period, thereby boosting risk-on trade.

Nedbank said the Reserve Bank’s guidance did not necessarily mean the start of monetary accommodation. "The bar for monetary accommodation was still high as inflation needs to remain within the Bank’s 3%-6% target band in order for any cut in interest rates to materialise," Nedbank said.

The JSE all share closed 0.20% higher at 51,999.50 points and the blue-chip top 40 gained 0.29%. After a late surge banks gained 0.43%. Industrials rose 0.27% and resources firmed 0.21%. General retailers added 0.15%. The gold index dropped 1.09% and food and drug retailers shed 0.97%.

The all share ended the week 0.32% higher and has now gained 2.58% in the year to date.

After a firmer performance on Thursday, the Dow Jones was 0.24% weaker at the JSE’s close. European markets were flat to marginally weaker. Commodity prices were also flat.

The market focus next week will fall on oil prices with oil cartel Opec’s meeting aiming to curtail supply among producers and support prices in the context of still-sluggish global growth.

"Scepticism about a deal being reached remain high and was the main drag on prices in the near to medium term," Nedbank said.

Brent crude was 0.38% higher at $47.70 a barrel at the JSE’s close.

Among individual shares on the JSE, Anglo American lifted 3.17% to R168.08, while Sasol softened 0.50% to R371.82.

Rand hedge British American Tobacco gained 0.84% to R874.51 and SABMiller added 0.98% to R775.50.

Gold Fields lost 1.31% to R69.10.

Nedbank was 0.56% lower at R223.25 but Standard Bank added 0.92% to R144.45.

Steinhoff lost 0.87% to R78.71.

Retailer Truworths was off 1.07% to R75.19 and Pick n Pay lost 3.45% to R71.69.

Consumer goods group Verimark rocketed 11.11% to 40c. It expects to report interim pretax profit of between R3.4m and R4.1m, from a pretax loss of R4.8m in the prior period.

Nampak closed 6.25% up at R19.55.

Educational group Curro was a star performer on the day, climbing 6.13% to R45.20.