Business Day

JSE muted as investors eye US talks

- Lindiwe Tsobo Markets Writer tsobol@businessli­

The JSE closed little changed on Wednesday as investors wait for US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole symposium for any details on possible monetary policy changes.

Central bankers are set to gather for the event on Thursday to discuss economic issues. The main focus for investors will be any firmer indication on whether or when they plan to rein in monetary stimulus.

The Fed has started discussion­s to pull back on its monthly $120bn bondbuying programme by the end of 2021, which has helped jump-start growth in the world’s biggest economy in the wake of the coronaviru­s. Powell is scheduled to speak on Friday.

“It’s all gone very quiet in the markets, which is hardly surprising under the circumstan­ces,” said Oanda senior market analyst Greg Erlam.

“The combinatio­n of light news flow, few economic releases and caution ahead of the Jackson Hole event has taken all of the excitement out of the markets. Instead, it’s been replaced by nervous anticipati­on as we wait to see what the Fed will do next,” he said.

The JSE all share and the top 40 were little changed, with the former at 67,452.86 points. Industrial metals gained 0.87%, banks 0.28% and financials 0.24%. Precious metals fell 3.02% and resources 0.23%.

At 5.30pm, the Dow Jones industrial average was 0.22% firmer at 35,445.60 points. In Europe, the FTSE 100 had gained 0.34% and France’s CAC 40 was 0.18% stronger, while Germany’s Dax eased 0.28%.

Earlier, the Shanghai Composite closed 0.74% higher, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.22%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was flat.

Shares in DRDGold, one of the world’s largest gold tailings retreatmen­t companies, fell 4.32% to R13.30 — the most in two weeks — despite the group declaring a final dividend for the 14th consecutiv­e year as strong gold prices pushed its profit higher. At the release of its results for the year ended June 30 on Wednesday, DRDGold declared a dividend of 40c a share.

At 5.43pm, the rand was 0.14% stronger at R14.9605/$ and 0.15% firmer at R17.58346/€, and little changed at R20.5385/£. The euro was flat at $1.17522.

Gold had lost 0.84% to $1,787/oz and platinum 1.57% to $995.64/oz. Brent crude was 0.42% firmer at $71.44 a barrel.

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