The JSE. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

The JSE was flat in midday trade on Friday after falling almost half a percent earlier in the day.

“Markets are lower this morning after the US closed down last night due to slightly disappointing jobless claims numbers as well as slow progress with regards to the eurozone crisis. Hopefully we will see more action after Germany's Angela Merkel meets Greek Prime Minister Samara later today‚” said Viv Govender‚ a market analyst from Vunani Capital.

“Both gold and platinum are off yesterdays highs‚ possibly on profit taking‚ after both metals rallied strongly over the last few days‚” he said.

At 12.02am local time‚ the JSE all-share index was flat (-0.02%) at 35‚836.45 points. Resources dropped 0.98%‚ while financials added 0.54%.

The Nikkei closed 1.17% down and the Hang Seng was 1.20% down in late trade.

“The Greeks are looking for yet more time to meet its austerity targets. I personally believe that merely extending the time will not solve the underlying problems in Greece. Spending cuts by government will drop Greek GDP which in turn reduces taxes‚ thereby eliminating the benefits of the initial spending cuts‚” he said.

“The country will then have to cut spending even further. It is in effect a austerity death spiral. The Greeks have little power to change this other than leaving the eurozone‚ which would be catastrophic. Only the Germans have the power to change to dynamics. Unfortunately this does not seem likely to occur due to the belief among German voters that the underlying cause of the crisis is that Greeks are lazy and unwilling to pay taxes‚” Govender said.

On the local front‚ Anglo American (AGL) lost R5.53‚ or 2.15%‚ to R251.97 with Anglo American Platinum (AMS) shedding R6.49‚ or 1.48%‚ to R433.07.

In platinum miners‚ Northam Platinum (NHM) lost 67 cents‚ or 2.47%‚ at R26.49 and Aquarius (AQP) gave up 22 cents‚ or 4.04%‚ at R5.23.

“Northam platinum posted results this morning. Profits came in lower than the previous year and the company declared no final dividend‚” Govender said.

ArcelorMittal (ACL) dropped 65 cents‚ or 1.44% to R44.50 after it and Sishen Iron Ore Company announced that they had reached a supply agreement on Thursday. Exxaro (EXX) lost R4.34‚ or 2.47% at R171.71. Coal of Africa (CZA) lost 8 cents‚ or 2.50%‚ at R3.12.

Gold miners DRDGold (DRD) added 6 cents‚ or 1.17%‚ to R5.21 and Wits Gold (WGR) gained R4.00‚ or 15.69%‚ at R29.50. The latter was‚ however‚ amid very thin volumes.

Among retailers‚ Woolworths (WHL) gained R2.83‚ or 4.99% at R59.50‚ Truworths (TRU) added RR2.21‚ or 2.33%‚ at R96.91 and Shoprite added R1.67‚ or 1.02%‚ to R166.00. - I-Net Bridge