The local bourse barely closed softer on Thursday as earlier momentum from the industrials index fizzled out right at the close.  

Gains were hard to maintain on the day as other global markets pulled in different directions. In mainland China the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.13% firmer, while the Nikkei and Hang Seng lost 1.33% and 0.58% respectively. Marginal gains were recorded for most European counters however US markets were mixed after the open following another surge in US jobless claims data. Global sentiment continues to be main driver of direction on the JSE in the absence of local economic data.

Following significant weakening in the prior session, the rand clawed back against the greenback as it peaked at a session high of R18.49/$. At 17.00 CAT, the rand was trading 0.24% firmer at R18.64/$.

On the JSE, the surge on the industrials index was led by heavyweights such as Naspers [JSE:NPN] which climbed 4.07% to close at R2794.20, as well as Prosus [JSE:PRX] which climbed 3.58% to close at R1316.20. healthcare sector stocks also found some momentum as gains were recorded for Life Healthcare [JSE:LHC] which surged 6.41% to close at R19.09, Mediclinic [JSE:MEI] which advanced 3.39% to close at R61.00, and Netcare [JSE:NTC] which closed at R15.70 after adding 4.32%. Telecoms provider MTN Group [JSE:MTN] climbed 3.36% to close at R49.23, while Ninety One Ltd [JSE:NY1] closed at R38.44 after adding 3.17%. Gains were also recorded for Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] which added 3.21% to close at R328.22, as well as Sappi [JSE:SAP] which closed at R21.09 after gaining 2.78%.

Some listed property stocks traded under considerable pressure as declines were recorded for Hyprop Investments [JSE:HYP] fell 8.61% to close at R18.25, Vukile Property Fund [JSE:VKE] lost 8.02% as it closed at R6.88, while Investec Property Fund [JSE:IPF] retreated 6.31% to close at R8.32. Despite the relatively firmer rand declines were recorded for Standard Bank [JSE:SBK] which lost 6.43% to close at R100.62, as well as Nedbank [JSE:NED] which fell 7.09% to close at R93.00. Declines were also recorded for Sibanye Stillwater [JSE:SSW] which lost 5.44% to close at R32.70, Brait [JSE:BAT] which slipped 4.72% to close at R3.43, and Impala Platinum [JSE:IMP] which closed at R107.30 after losing 7.64%.

The JSE All-Share index eventually closed 0.12% softer while the blue-chip JSE Top-40 index shed 0.05%. The Financials index fell 2.9% while the Resources index lost 1.21%. The Industrials index was the only major index to close firmer after it surged 1.59%.

At 17.00 CAT, Gold was up 0.66% at $1726.66/Oz, Platinum had gained 0.75% to trade at $783.82/Oz, while Palladium was 0.09% firmer at $2178.75/Oz.

Brent crude continues to trade under pressure as it was recorded trading 0.72% weaker at $27.49/barrel just after the JSE close.

*Musa Makoni is a trading specialist at Purple Group


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