The JSE. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

The JSE edged up slightly at noon on Tuesday on the back of a stronger platinum sector‚ which had gained 1.2% by noon‚ and also on speculation of more monetary easing out of the US and China.

All eyes will be on the US Federal Reserve’s chairman Ben Bernanke who will give his testimony to the US Congress on Tuesday — he will speak to the Senate Banking Committee — at 16:00 local time. Many investors are hoping he will signal the possibility of further quantitative easing measures (QE3).

“Some big local companies showed gains today‚ especially Richemont‚ up 2.5%‚ after taking a pounding the last couple of weeks losing more than 15% of its value. This was due to market related negative sentiment surrounding world markets‚” said Hennie Fourie‚ stockbroker at PSG Konsult in Pretoria.

China recently released growth figures of 7.6%‚ the slowest in three years‚ and the country is one of Richemont’s biggest markets.

At 12:02 local time‚ the JSE all-share index was up 0.08% at 33‚754.35 points‚ with gold miners gaining 0.55%‚ platinum shares adding 1.20% and resources up 0.12%.

Financials were flat (0.02%)‚ banking stocks rose 0.32% and industrials gained 0.07%.

The rand was trading at 8.19 to the US dollar‚ from 8.22 at the JSE’s close on Monday‚ while gold changed hands at US$1‚595.18 a troy ounce from US$1‚591.69/oz at the JSE’s previous close and platinum was quoted at $1‚424.50/oz‚ from $1‚417.50/oz previously.

Dow Jones Newswires reported that European stocks were marginally higher and the euro rose against the dollar as investors awaited the start of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's two-day testimony before Congress‚ hoping for at least a nod toward further quantitative easing to boost the US economy.

At 11:47 local time‚ the UK's FTSE 100 had shed 0.26% to 5‚647.95 and France's CAC-40 was 0.44% higher at 3‚193.94.

Hong Kong shares ended higher on Tuesday‚ driven by short-covering ahead of US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony to Congress later in the global day‚ and expectations of further stimulus measures from China.

The blue-chip Hang Seng Index rose 333.99 points‚ or 1.75%‚ to close at 19‚455.33.

“Investors are likely factoring in some QE3 possibilities and also further stimulus measures from China‚” said Jackson Wong‚ an investment manager at Tanrich Securities.

Hong Kong market’s gain on Tuesday was much stronger than other major markets in Asia such as Japan‚ Korea‚ Taiwan and Singapore. The Nikkei closed up 0.35% at 8‚755 points.

On the JSE‚ Anglo American (AGL) was down R1.80 to R259.40‚ BHP Billiton (BIL) slipped 10 cents to R229.90‚ while Sasol (SOL) gained R3.07 to R343.50.

AngloGold Ashanti (ANG) was up R1.26 to R268.16‚ Gold Fields (GFI) lifted 52 cents to R100.38 and Harmony Gold Mining (HAR) picked up 63 cents to R76.04.

In platinum stocks‚ Amplats (AMS) jumped R10.69‚ or 2.53%‚ to R433.79 and Impala Platinum (IMP) added R1.46‚ or 1.14%‚ to R130.06.

Among other miners‚ Kumba Iron Ore (KIO) shed R8.84‚ or 1.65%‚ to R528.15.

In industrials‚ Richemont (CFR) was up 97 cents‚ or 2.35%‚ to R42.24.

Among banks and insurers‚ Capitec (CPI) gained R2.10‚ or 1.02%‚ to R207.10‚ while Old Mutual PLC (OML) shed 21 cents‚ or 1.04%‚ to R19.99.

Among construction companies‚ Basil Read Holdings (BSR) gained 25c‚ or 2.37%‚ to R10.79‚ while Murray & Roberts Holdings (MUR) shed 35c‚ or 1.45%‚ to R23.80. - I-Net Bridge