The JSE tracked other global markets lower on Wednesday as investors fretted over the extended economic shutdowns as a result of the coronavirus.

The local bourse eased following consecutive sessions of healthy gains as the negative sentiment from other global markets weighed heavy. With all important US non-farm payrolls numbers being released this Friday, investors now shift their attention to the extent of job losses caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

With most countries under lockdown, this similar trend of job losses could extend across all the major global economic centers. The rand relinquished some of the prior session’s gains as it breached R18/$ again to pick at a session low of R18.07/$.

The local unit was recorded trading 0.79% weaker at R17.98/$ at 17.00 CAT. On the local bourse, Tsogo Sun [JSE:TGO] came under significant pressure as it plummeted 17.09% to close at R1.31, while its hospitality sector peer Sun International [JSE:SUI] fell 14.13% to close at R16.10. Motus Holdings [JSE:MTH] lost more ground in today’s session as it slipped 12.5% to close at R23.80, while Imperial Logistics [JSE:IPL] dropped 3.63% to close at R25.50.

Significant losses were also recorded for Sasol [JSE:SOL] which fell 8.64% to close at R33.74, as well as for MTN Group [JSE:MTN] which closed at R43.52 after losing 10.06%. Nampak [JSE:NPK] found some traction in today’s session as it jumped 13% to close at R1.13, while EPP NV [JSE:EPP] surged 10.48% to close at R6.85. Rand hedge British American Tobacco [JSE:BTI] climbed 7.47% as it closed at R643.36, while RFG Holdings [JSE:RFG] added 4.5% to close at R15.10.

Healthcare provider, Netcare [JSE:NTC] advanced 3.33% to close at R15.50, while its sector peer Life Healthcare [JSE:LHC] rose 5.9% to close at R19.55. Gains were also recorded for Aspen Pharmacare [JSE:APN] which gained 2.94% to close at R95.16, as well as Nedbank Group [JSE:NED] which closed at R85.00 after adding 2.83%.

The JSE All-Share index closed 1.7% lower while the JSE Top-40 index lost 1.75%. The Financials index lost a more modest 0.75%, while the Industrials and Resources indices fell 1.44% and 2.62% respectively.

At 17.00 CAT, Palladium was down 5.34% to trade at $2223.08/Oz, Platinum was 0.42% firmer at $725.19/Oz, while Gold was up 0.62% to trade at $1587.31/Oz.Brent crude was trading 3.95% weaker at $25.31/barrel just after the JSE close.

*Musa Makoni is a trading specialist at Purple Group


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