Rand re­treats, stocks touch new high

The Star Early Edition - - PRICES -

THE RAND slipped to three-week lows against the dol­lar yes­ter­day, eras­ing most of the pre­vi­ous ses­sion’s gains in a cau­tious mar­ket as a vote on a mo­tion of no-con­fi­dence against Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma drew closer.

The Zuma ad­min­is­tra­tion has been be­set by scan­dals and crit­i­cised for fail­ing to ad­dress se­ri­ous eco­nomic prob­lems, with the pres­i­dent sur­viv­ing eight mo­tions of no-con­fi­dence since tak­ing of­fice in 2009.

If the current mo­tion, sched­uled for Au­gust 8, suc­ceeds Zuma and his en­tire cab­i­net would have to step down.

Speaker Baleka Mbete, who will de­cide whether to al­low a se­cret bal­lot that could be more likely to oust Zuma, said yes­ter­day she would “do the right thing”.

“We still wait for the Speaker of Par­lia­ment to an­nounce her de­ci­sion on the se­cret bal­lot,” Rand Mer­chant Bank an­a­lyst Isaah Mh­langa said, adding mar­ket fo­cus was also on US non-farm pay­rolls data due on Friday.

At 5pm, the rand was bid at R13.3934 to the dol­lar, 14.38c softer than at the same time on Wed­nes­day.

Mean­while, stocks inched past a new record high peak, buoyed by Bri­tish Amer­i­can Tobacco (BATS).

The bench­mark JSE Top40 in­dex was up 0.89 per­cent at 49 243.79 points, while the all share in­dex ad­vanced 0.88 per­cent to a new high of 55 687 in in­tra­day trad­ing, but re­treated slightly to close on 55 685.01 points.

BATS, which has a sec­ondary list­ing on the JSE, re­cov­ered some of the past week’s losses af­ter JP Mor­gan said it saw ex­ces­sive con­cerns about reg­u­la­tion in the US as a buy­ing op­por­tu­nity.

BATS gained 3.59 per­cent to close at R873.50.

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