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JSE flat as the bourse tracks US markets

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Johannesburg - Stocks ended flat in line with the opening of US markets, which were little moved in early trade amid signs that President Donald Trump was struggling to get enough votes to pass a healthcare bill in Congress.

The benchmark JSE Top40 index dipped 0.02 percent to 44845.23 points while the all share index crept 0.13 percent lower to 52027.98 points.

Decliners included Life Healthcare, which closed 2.22 percent lower at R33.41 after announcing the price of its R9 billion rights issue at a larger than expected discount on Wednesday.

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The Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton.

“This was the first time they disclosed the rights issue price ... [at] a discount of around 30 percent which is larger than the market expected,” said 36One Asset Management analyst, Shmuel Simpson.

Meanwhile, US stocks were higher in late morning trading as investors snapped up beaten-down bank stocks, but remained cautious ahead of a vote on the healthcare bill.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 29.76 points, or 0.14 percent, at 20691.06 points, the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) was up 4.59 points, or 0.19percent, at 2353.04 points. The S&P 500 has gained 10 percent since Trump’s election.

The Nasdaq Composite had advanced 10.06 points, or 0.17 percent, at 5831.70 points.

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