Bourse starts year higher, rand softer
STOCKS kicked off the New Year in positive territory yesterday, as a platinum rally spurred producers of the precious metal, while dollar strength knocked the volatile rand into the red.
The benchmark JSE Top40 index gained 0.82 percent yesterday, the first day of trade after the long New Year weekend, to reach 44 261.26 points. The broader all share index ended the day 0.72 percent higher at 51 020.66 points.
Miners Lonmin and Northam Platinum were the biggest gainers, shooting up 16.07 percent to R27.23 and 7.68 percent to R43.61, respectively, while top platinum producer, Anglo American Platinum, gained 4.66 percent to R276.72.
Spot platinum was up almost 4.6 percent at $941.30 (R12 895) an ounce, mirroring surges in other commodities such as oil after the release of upbeat Chinese data.
But the strong dollar had the rand on the back foot, with the currency 0.6 percent softer at R13.8025 in the afternoon.
Government bonds were weaker, and the yield for the benchmark instrument due in 2026 rose.
Meanwhile, Wall Street made big gains yesterday afternoon, its first day of trading in 2017, with all eyes on the Dow Jones industrial average as it zeroed in on the historic 20 000 points mark.
After coming within a hair’s breadth of the milestone last month as part of a post-election rally, the Dow was trading just 0.46 percent shy of the psychological milestone.
The Dow gained 13.4 percent last year – its best performance in three years – registering strong gains in the past two months as investors bet that Presidential-elect Donald Trump would introduce market friendly policies such as tax cuts and simpler regulation.
Banks were the main drivers of the gains on Wall Street , with the Standard & Poor’ 500 financial sector rising 1.33 percent.