Bourse starts year higher, rand softer

The Star Early Edition - - PRICES -

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.

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