NASPERS STARS AS THE BOURSE FLUCTUATES
fter a rocky start to the year, May proved to be another positive month for the JSE all share, albeit in volatile trade.
The index ended the month 1.79% higher, the fifth positive month of gains. It was up 6.3% for the year at the end of May after losing 3% in January.
A rebound in the big industrials caused the lift, as mining stocks took a breather from the topline growth of the previous few months.
British American Tobacco added 11.3% in May, with Mondi Plc climbing 12.7% and SABMiller up 12.7%. But the star performer was Naspers, rebounding 18% in the month from a sluggish beginning in the year as its 34% investment in Chinese game
Adownloading group Tencent boosted Naspers’s market standing after Tencent posted sterling results.
The big rand hedges were supported by another torrid month for the rand as the local currency slid 10% against the dollar. But the overall market also found favour from positive global developments. The US Federal Reserve put rate hikes in the US on the back burner again, citing adverse US economic data and concerns about weak global growth as some of the reasons.
This fuelled greater risk-on global sentiment, with some emerging markets, such as the JSE, benefiting.
The Indian NSE gained 4.66% in May, but the Brazilian Bovespa shed 10%, reflecting the political turmoil in the country.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended the month flat, but the S&P 500 made a 1.5% gain, mainly on higher energy stocks gaining from firmer oil prices with the WTI price climbing 6% in the month. The Brent crude price rose 4.6% in May to just under $50 a barrel. Property stocks dipped in the month, the index losing 4%, though it had outperformed the all share index in previous months.
It was a weaker month for commodities.
The spot gold price retreated 6% and platinum lost 9%. But on an annual basis, both were positive, showing growth of 14% and 9% respectively. Both the gold and platinum indices on the JSE gained more than 100% since January. This led to the Resources 10 index ending the month 2.6% lower. Anglo American lost 11.6%, but was still 100% up on an annual basis.
It was the second consecutive month in the red for local banks as they followed their weaker European and US counterparts.
The banking index ended May 4% lower after a 4% retraction in April. FirstRand rerated 7% lower in May. Standard Bank lost 2.9%. Barclays Africa bucked the trend, gaining a marginal 1.1% in May. Among financials, Old Mutual added 4.3%, but Sanlam dropped 9% in May after an operational update spooked investors.