File image: The Johannesburg Stock Exchange. (File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko).

CAPE TOWN - When looking at South Africa’s top 50 performing companies listed on the JSE and how they have performed thus far in 2018, only 21 have seen their share values increase over the past six months.

This was revealed in share price data captured on 2 January 2018 and 12 June 2018, from Bloomberg markets at 17h00.

See how the top 50 shares (by market cap) have performed in 2018 so far:

According to Thabiso Mamathuba, Analyst at FNB Securities, for the period under review, it appears that resources, in particular, diversified miners were the leaders of the pack. 

"Among the resources counters that performed well, BHP Billiton, Anglo American, South32 and Glencore benefited from the stronger rand and firmer commodity prices. The change in South Africa’s political leadership at the start of 2018 saw the local currency strengthen and SA economically sensitive equities rally, although most have sold-off since then as emerging markets fell out of favour", said Mamathuba. 

"We saw a number of property stocks coming under pressure over the period largely due to sustained weakness in the Resilient stable which accounts for almost a quarter of the property index, along with a rise in bond yields – particularly in emerging markets" 

"The PSG Group share price also came under pressure as Steinhoff began divesting its stake in the business and Capitec sold-off heavily following a report by research firm Viceroy accusing the bank of operating “like a loan shark”, said Mamathuba. 

Mamathuba explains that BHP Billiton was able to do well due to benefitting from oil price surges. 

"In addition to a stronger rand and firmer commodity prices, BHP Billiton, which also owns oil and gas operations, benefited from oil prices surging to more than three-year highs due to tensions in the Middle East and OPEC’s pledge to extend supply cuts beyond 2018. The company’s oil and gas operations become more profitable as crude oil prices strengthen", said Mamathuba. 

Major Banks

Mamathuba pointed out that the share prices for major local banks rallied at the start of 2018 on the expectation of an improvement in macroeconomic conditions post the December ANC elective conference.

"Standard Bank, Nedbank and Absa have strengthened over the period, while Capitec and FirstRand’s share prices declined", said Mamathuba.

"We’ve seen earnings upgrades recently in Standard Bank with analysts believing it to have the best business mix for the expected cyclical trading upswing. While business and consumer confidence remains weak, investment sentiment appears to be improving, and this bodes well for banks as revenue growth is likely to improve. Rand weakness and higher bond yields have seen SA Bank share prices come under some pressure more recently", concluded Mamathuba.