The JSE. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

The JSE share market lacked direction during its opening session on Tuesday‚ as lingering eurozone concerns weighed on market sentiment.

Absa Group’s (ASA) stock fell more than 6% after the group said its headline earnings for the six months ending June 2012 were likely to be 0%-10% below the R4.595bn achieved in the same period a year ago‚ largely on the back of an increase in credit impairments in its mortgage legal book.

At 09:24 local time‚ the JSE all-share index was flat (-0.06%) at 33‚801.04 points‚ with resources gaining 0.30%‚ gold shares lifting 2.54% and platinum counters flat (0.02%).

Financials shed 1%‚ banking stocks tumbled 2.02%‚ while industrials were also flat (0.08%.)

The rand was trading at 8.47 to the US dollar‚ from 8.49 at the JSE’s close on Monday‚ while gold was quoted at US$1‚584.02 a troy ounce from US$1‚571.72/oz at the JSE’s previous close and platinum was at $1‚439/oz‚ from $1‚431.20/oz previously.

“Given the uncertainties hanging around Europe‚ the guys will continue to make money on the edges‚” said Kobus Nell‚ portfolio manager at Stanlib.

European stocks opened a little higher following heavy losses in the previous session‚ although the overall tone remains one of caution ahead of this week's European Union summit (EU).

Moody's Investors Services lowered its long-term ratings on 28 of the Spain’s institutions by between one and four notches‚ Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The downgrade reflects the view that Madrid's ability to provide support to the local banking system has declined. Monday’s downgrade came on the same day that Spain formally requested EU aid to help finance its banking system.

Cyprus joined Spain in requesting eurozone aid on Monday.

London’s FTSE was up 0.28%.

In Asia‚ stocks were mostly lower‚ with Japan's index down for a third straight trading day‚ as a downgrade of Spanish banks intensified pressure on the forthcoming EU meeting to help resolve the ongoing crisis.

Japan’s Nikkei ended the session 0.81% weaker‚ while the Hang Seng index was up 0.27% by 09:24 local time. - I-Net Bridge