The JSE. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

The JSE opened the Thursday session lower‚ with platinums and resources falling furthest and gold miners trading flat‚ while world markets are concerned about the US fiscal cliff and the possibility of tax increases there and continued eurozone monetary woes.

At 9.35am the all share index was 0.44% softer at 37‚079.24 points‚ platinums and resources gave back 1.53% and 0.61% respectively‚ while gold miners were flat (-0.01%).

Eastern markets were mixed with the Japanese Nikkei 225 surging 1.9% to 8‚829.72 points and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index 1.3% lower at 21‚163.85 points.

Rand Merchant Bank said the rand was at risk of pushing to new post-crisis highs above R9.00 to the US dollar as fear over the fiscal cliff weighed on all risky assets.

“The market broke the R8.60-R8.80 range decisively on Wednesday‚ for moves above R8.90 and within spitting distance of the October peak. Global markets are stable this morning so there is no pressure on the rand but with eurozone gross domestic product due for release and Wall Street falling day after day‚ risks are elevated‚” RMB said.

“The rand’s movement is mostly a reflection of global issues. Wall Street has been falling almost continuously since the US election due to worries about the fiscal cliff and possible tax increases‚ with the Dow down almost 5% since the early November high.

The pressure on high-yielding currencies was initially accentuated by strong dollar gains on safe-haven flows but this has eased as the minutes of the last Fed meeting show there is a possibility of further monetary stimulus. Europe’s problems continue‚ with massive protests rocking the continent yesterday‚ even as Spain was given more time to reach its budget targets‚” RMB said.

“We have our own negatives. There are stories of government dollar buying to fund the renewable energy projects and continuous nervousness over strikes. This might be accentuating the rand adjustment‚” the bank said.

Among local shares‚ Anglo American (AGL) was down 1.05% at R242.10 and its rival BHP Billiton (BIL) was 0.61% softer at R269.60.

Investec Plc (INP) shed 1.33% to R51.15 and Investec Ltd (INL) was down 1.80% at R51.40 after the company on Thursday reported a 15% decline in headline earnings per share to 15.9 pence for the six months ended September 2012‚ from 18.7 pence a year ago.

In the platinum sector Impala Platinum (IMP) shed 2.13% to R139.93 and Lonmin (LON) gave back 1.25% to R63.00.

Exxaro (EXX) was down 1.32% to R164.05 and Kumba Iron Ore (KIO) lost 1.34% to R516.01.

Naspers N shares (NPN) shed 2.94% to R538.27‚ while rival Caxton (CAT) was unchanged at R17.00. - I-Net Bridge