The JSE. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

The JSE stock market closed higher on Friday after US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s much anticipated speech at Jackson Hole on Friday afternoon.

Bernanke failed to announce any imminent monetary easing measures and did not outline any new steps to boost the US economy‚ but did say the stagnation in the US labour market was a “grave concern” and that the Fed still had some tools at hand and would use them if necessary.

“Our local market opened positive today‚ took a dip and recovered later amid low volumes. Our market did expect more from the Bernanke speech‚” said Francois Venter‚ equity dealer at Investec Asset Management.

At 5pm the JSE all-share index was up 0.23% at 35.389.45 points‚ with gold miners hit hard‚ down 1.55% on the back of a fears of a slowdown in China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index at was up 0.77% at 4.49pm and European markets were trading higher with the FTSE100 last seen up 0.21%.

Bernanke voiced support for the central bank’s previous monetary-easing measures in prepared remarks before the economic-policy symposium‚ but did not specifically outline any new steps to boost the US economy‚ Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Gold initially turned lower on the release of his comments‚ but pushed higher later. Bernanke said the economic situation was “far from satisfactory‚” supporting speculation that the central bank would deploy more easy-money policies‚ or quantitative easing‚ in an effort to prop up growth.

On the JSE Gold Fields (GFI) lost 2.82% to R101.03 and Harmony (HAR) shed 3.89% to R68.24.

Northam Platinum (IMP) gained 1.54% to R27.00‚ while Lonmin (LON) shed 1.84% to R77.45.

ArcelorMittal (ACL) lost 2.75% to R40.60 and Kumba Iron Ore (KIO) gave up 3.61% to R480.00. - I-Net Bridge