Local stocks slumped on Friday as markets anticipated a disappointing US jobs numbers for March which came in worse than expected, as the economy lost 701 000 jobs compared to the estimated loss of 100 000 jobs.

This cemented the downtrend for global indices which were already trading mostly weaker on the day. With the US economy going into an extended shutdown, there are fears that the economic outlook could get worse within the medium-term.

On the currency market, the rand has continued to slump against the dollar, and failed to get a reprieve even as the greenback wobbled due to the weaker jobs data.

The rand fell as low as R18.86/$ before it was recorded trading 1.95% weaker at R18.81/$ at 17.00 CAT. On the JSE, listed property stocks came under significant pressure as they recorded the bulk of the day’s biggest declines.

Hammerson PLC [JSE:HMN] fell 22.49% to close at R12.96, Redefine Properties [JSE:RDF] lost 15.35% to close at R2.15, and Emira Property Fund [JSE:EMI] tumbled 11.59% to close at R6.10. Brait [JSE:BAT] struggled considerably as it lost 10.14% to close at R3.10, while cement maker PPC Ltd [JSE:PPC] closed at R1.49 after losing 9.7%. Barloworld [JSE:BAW] retreated 6.57% to end the day at R56.99, while Imperial Logistics [JSE:IPL] dropped 6.46% to close at R24.77.

Significant losses were also recorded for Sappi [JSE:SAP] which lost 5.75% to close at R19.82, Anglo American PLC [JSE:AGL] which retreated 4.34% to close at R285.57, as well as Absa Group [JSE:ABG] which closed at R72.98 after falling 4.75%.

Nampak [JSE:NPK] had another jolt as it surged 21.43% to close at R1.70, while Murray & Roberts [JSE:MUR] climbed 14.34% to close at R6.30. Pan African Resources [JSE:PAN] climbed 7.01% to close at 2.29, while Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] added a modest 0.96% to close at R301.53. Gold miners had momentum in today’s session as gains were recorded for AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG] which added 4.75% to close at R345.87, Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] which rose 4.09% to close at R101.22, as well as DRD Gold [JSE:DRD] which closed at R11.00 after adding 3.87%. Gains were also recorded for Vodacom [JSE:VOD] which added 2.75% to close at R119.75, and Shoprite [JSE:SHP] which advanced 1.66% to close at R124.91. The JSE All-Share index eventually closed 1.03% lower while the JSE Top-40 index lost 0.9%.

The Industrials index lost a relatively modest 0.43%, however the Financials and Resources indices lost 2.77% and 0.93% respectively.At 17.00 CAT, Palladium had lost 2% to trade at $2174.40/Oz, Platinum was down 1.43% at $720.40/Oz, and Gold was 0.2% firmer at $1617.66/Oz.

Brent crude remained buoyant in today’s session as it was recorded trading 11.89%n higher at $33.47/barrel just after the JSE close.   

*Musa Makoni is a trading specialist at Purple Group

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