File picture: Philimon Bulawayo. (IOL).
JOHANNESBURG - The all share index yesterday shed a massive 1 176 points with the banks index closing the trading session reeling.

The all share was down 2.01% to 57273 points on a tough trading day for South African equities, while the blue chip Top40 index retreated 2.22% to 50408 points.

The industrial stock tanked 2.38%, while the financial stocks were down 2.4% with banks leading the losses on the back of a weak rand. The key banks index plunged 3.42%.

The biggest bank by market capitalisation FirstRand share price lost 4.62% to R64.76, while Standard Bank was down 3.09% to R209.33 and Nedbank Group declined 2.53% to R288.50.

Barclays Africa Group did not fare any better, closing the session down 3.27% to R176.51, while Capitec Bank shed 1.15% to R859.99 and specialist banker Investec plunged 4.27% to R97.22.

Small cap companies fared better on the day with independent South African airline Comair adding 6.3% to R6.75, while Basil Read surged 9.09% to R0.24. African Equity and Empowerment Investments closed the session 8% stronger at R5.40, while Master Drilling soared 14.43% to R11.50.

The rand retreated from a day’s high of R12.59 against the dollar and was bid at R12.73 by 5 pm, weaker than the R12.70 it was bid at on Wednesday at the same time.

The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday night kept its interest rate steady, giving the rand a brief lift.

Oliver Jones, markets economist at Capital Economics said: “Emerging market currencies have remained under pressure this week and we expect most to soften further against the dollar.”

The local unit recouped some of its losses against the pound and was bid at R17.24, compared to R17.27 at 5 pm on Wednesday, while it weakened further against the euro, bid at R15.21, compared to R15.19.

Nedbank strategist Mehul Daya said as the dollar rallied, he expected that the carry trade would come under pressure.

“Our forecast for the dollar-rand for the end of the first half of the year is R12.48, and for end of the second half of the year is R13,” Daya said.