The Mercury

Share markets await data for direction

- Dr Chris Harmse Chief economist Rebalance Fund Managers

FTSE/JSE Africa Index Series

SHARE markets around the world moved rather sideways and were largely quiet last week due to the absence of fresh economic data that would give direction.

The dismissal of FBI director James Comey by US President Donald Trump kept pressure on the dollar. Demand for emerging market currencies also helped the rand to strengthen.

Share indices in Europe have increased sharply over the last two weeks due to the French elections. Both the CAC 40 in Paris and the Dax in Germany gained 2.6 percent since the beginning of the month. The FTSE 100 increased 1.9 percent last week on the back of better economic growth prospects and is now already 3.2 percent higher since the end of April.

This week, economic growth rate data, the latest inflation, retail sales and manufactur­ing data for various developed countries will be published and will lead buyers and sellers.

Locally, StatsSA last week announced mining and manufactur­ing production data.

Manufactur­ing production had increased 0.3 percent (year-onyear) during March. This after a 3.7 percent drop in January and much higher than the 2 percent decrease expected by the market.

Mining production had increased by a massive 15.5 percent (year-on-year) during March following an downward revised 4.1 percent increase in February. These figures contribute­d towards a further recovery in share prices on the local bourse.

On the JSE, the all share index gained 484 points, or 0.9 percent, last week and is already 6.8 percent higher since the beginning of the year.

Financial shares recovered by 1.4 percent for the week, while industrial­s added 0.8 percent and resources rose 0.4 percent.

In reaction to the stronger rand, property and bonds also recovered last week. The listed property index had improved by 1.9 percent since the previous Friday.

The rand exchange rate recovered last week against major currencies. The rand gained 10c, or 0.7 percent, against the dollar and traded was trading at R13.38 to the greenback on Friday just after the close of the JSE.

Against the pound, the local unit appreciate­d by 26c, or 1.2 percent, to close the week at R17.22. Against the euro, the rand recovered by 18c, or 1.2 percent, and traded at R14.64.

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