JSE flat‚ awaits Fed statement

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JSE1 Independent Newspapers The JSE. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

The JSE was flat but still in record territory at noon on Wednesday‚ as global equity markets awaited some action from the US Federal Reserve to boost faltering global economic growth.

On the local corporate front‚ Wescoal surged more than 10% after the junior coal miner swung to profitability in the year to March 2012.

At 12:00 local time‚ the JSE all-share index was flat (0.02%) at 34‚720.49 points‚ with gold shares dipping 0.33%‚ but resources lifting 0.58% and platinum counters inching up 0.11%.

Financials were flat (0.05%)‚ as were banking stocks (0.01%)‚ while industrials slipped 0.36%.

The rand was trading at 8.21 to the US dollar‚ unchanged from the JSE's close on Tuesday‚ while gold was quoted at US$1‚617.06 a troy ounce from US$1‚626.15/oz at the JSE's previous close and platinum was at $1‚481.70/oz‚ from $1‚493.50/oz previously.

Graeme Körner‚ portfolio manager at Körner Perspective‚ said: “From our viewpoint‚ the basis for the current market rally remains a mystery. We think there is little value to be had in equities currently. Most of the sectors‚ save for commodities‚ which are sensitive to global growth‚ are over valued.”

European stock markets were trading in a narrow range‚ with the London’s FTSE up 0.12% at about noon local time.

Fed officials have a number of options at their disposal — such as extending the programme known as Operation Twist‚ where the central bank sells short-term Treasury bills and puts the money into longer-term securities.

Alternatively‚ it could launch a new round of quantitative easing.

In Asia‚ markets ended generally higher‚ with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gaining 0.53% but the China Shanghai Composite was down 0.3.%.

On the JSE‚ Anglo American (AGL) was up R3‚ or 1.06%‚ to R285.30‚ BHP Billiton (BIL) was up R1.89 to R244.89‚ while Sasol (SOL) edged up R1.63 to R376.19.

AngloGold Ashanti (ANG) lost 41 cents to R304.59‚ Gold Fields (GFI) shed 84 cents to R112.57 and Harmony Gold Mining (HAR) was off 21 cents to R86.79.

In platinum stocks‚ Anglo American Platinum (AMS) dipped 46 cents to R507.54 while Lonmin (LON) was up R1.36‚ or 1.34%‚ to R102.86.

Among other miners‚ Kumba Iron Ore (KIO) gained R11.39‚ or 1.98%‚ to R587.39.

In industrials‚ SAB (SAB) was down R4.89‚ or 1.49%‚ to R322.60.

Among telecoms shares‚ Telkom (TKG) shed 30 cents‚ or 1.44%‚ to R20.54.

Santam (SNT) lost R9.38‚ or 5.26%‚ to R169.

Wescoal (WSL) was up seven cents‚ or 10.29%‚ to 75 cents. The company earlier reported headline earnings per share from continuing operations of 11.4 cents in the year to March‚ after an 8.1 cents loss a year ago.

Revenue was up 13.1% to R630.8 million and operating profit came in at R26 million after an operating loss of R21.4 million a year ago. No dividend was declared. - I-Net Bridge


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