The JSE. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

The JSE continued its upward trend at noon on Friday on the back of firmer international markets‚ after China’s second-quarter GDP data met market expectations‚ and US futures point to a stronger start.

At 12:02 local time‚ the JSE all-share index was up 0.69% at 33‚620.57 points‚ with resources gaining 1.23%‚ gold shares rising 1.44% and platinum counters climbing 0.47%.

Financials stayed flat (0.05%)‚ industrials were 0.67% firmer‚ while banking stocks shed 0.43%.

The rand was trading at 8.32 to the US dollar‚ from 8.36 at the JSE’s close on Thursday‚ while gold changed hands at US$1‚580.48 a troy ounce from US$1‚559.05/oz at the JSE’s previous close and platinum was quoted at $1‚427.20/oz‚ from $1‚410/oz previously.

“We have been firmer for most of the day and are watching international markets‚ but the firm bias should last through to the weekend‚” said a local trader.

“We dodged a major landmine this morning. China’s second quarter GDP growth figure came in as expected at 7.6% year on year‚ confirming a slowdown but not suggesting stagnation. The growth number is the lowest since the crisis and represents the sixth straight quarter of deceleration. But the fact that it was not worse is a cause for relief. The monthly data‚ meanwhile‚ still leaves us unclear whether the second quarter was the low for the cycle or if there could be a further slowdown this quarter‚” Rand Merchant Bank said.

Elsewhere‚ eurozone troubles were continuing‚ with Moody’s unexpectedly downgrading Italy by two notches overnight. The US releases of PPI figures today and US University of Michigan consumer confidence data‚ as well as some major corporate results.

In England‚ The FTSE 100 traded up‚ maintaining mild gains. Traders in London digested data showing output in the UK construction sector rose 6.3% in May from April. Barclays PLC's (BCS) corporate and investment banking chief Rich Ricci said the business was not affected by the Libor scandal and the firm anticipated it would have a strong year‚ Fox Business Network reported yesterday.

Banks connected to the scandal involving the misreporting of Libor‚ the benchmark short-term interest rate‚ face liability risks of around US$6.2 billion‚ or almost $400 million for each of the 16 accused banks‚ German newspaper Financial Times Deutschland reported on Friday‚ citing a report by Morgan Stanley analysts.

At 11:47 local time the FTSE 100 was up 0.55% at 5‚638.87.

In Asia‚ stocks climbed on Friday as China reported second-quarter growth in line with expectations‚ dousing fears of a sharper-than-expected slowdown in the region’s largest economy. “The fact the numbers are not as bad as people had feared gives the market a boost‚” said Francis Lun‚ managing director at Lyncean Securities. “Also‚ the government is expected to further introduce monetary policies such as a reserve requirement ratio cut to prevent the economy from slowing down too much.”

The Hang Seng Index closed 0.35% higher at 19‚092.63‚ led by commodity stocks‚ but Japan’s Nikkei average ended the session flat‚ adding just 0.05% to 8‚724.12.

On the JSE‚ Anglo American (AGL) was up R1.37 to R259.50‚ BHP Billiton (BIL) lifted R3.90‚ or 1.73%‚ to R229.39 and Sasol (SOL) gained R4.68‚ or 1.39%‚ to R340.68.

AngloGold Ashanti (ANG) gained R4.30‚ or 1.63%‚ to R268.31‚ Gold Fields (GFI) was up R1.25‚ or 1.25%‚ to R100.88‚ DRD Gold added 16c‚ or 3.40%‚ to R4.86 and Wits Gold (WGR) added R4.50‚ or 17‚65%‚ to R30.00. The trader said this jump was amid very low volumes‚ with just one trade at that price.

In platinum stocks‚ Amplats (AMS) was up R1.18 to R425.11 and Impala Platinum (NHM) lifted 74 cents to R126.65. Aquarius added 11 cents‚ or 2.13%‚ to R5.28. Wesizwe shed 6 cents‚ or 7.69%‚ to 72 cents.

Among other miners‚ Exxaro (EXX) recovered R4.68‚ or 2.77%‚ to R173.68‚ Kumba Iron Ore (KIO) added R8.07‚ or 1.53%‚ to R534.08‚ while Assore (ASR) lost R7.40‚ or 2.66%‚ to R271 and Coal of Africa (CZA) gave up 15 cents‚ or 3.61%‚ to R4.

In industrials‚ Richemont (CFR) was up 74 cents‚ or 1.80%‚ to R41.80.

Among telecoms‚ Telkom (TKG) was down 75 cents‚ or 4.12%‚ to R17.45.

Among banks‚ First Rand (FSR) lost 29 cents‚ or 1.08% to R26.52‚ while Investec PLC (INP) added 96 cents‚ or 1.96%‚ to R49.96 and Investec LTD (INL) gained 78 cents‚ or 1.59%‚ to R49.71. Old Mutual (OML) added 26 cents‚ or 1.33%‚ to R19.88.

Among retail shares‚ Woolies (WHL) added 85 cents‚ or 1.67%‚ to R51.66.

In the construction sector‚ Basil Read (BSR) garnered 40 cents or 3.85% to R10.80. - I-Net Bridge