Financial Mail - Investors Monthly - - Analysis - Maarten Mit­tner

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.

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