The reception area of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. File picture: Leon Nicholas

The JSE was flat (-0.03%) at noon‚ despite the US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s decision on Wednesday to go ahead with further monetary easing. Some market participants‚ however‚ fear that this might come to an end earlier than expected.

The Fed will now snap up $40bn a month of mortgage-backed securities and $45bn worth of bonds‚ meaning that the Fed has switched the expiring US$45bn operation twist into an expanded QE3.

At 12.57am‚ the JSE all share index was flat (-0.03%) at 38‚752.68 points‚ with gold miners posting the biggest gains (0.68%)‚ while resources gave a little back (-0.53%) after a good run this week.

Leading European bourses were trading in negative territory with the UK FTSE 100 seen 0.26% softer at 12.27pm local time.

“The US Fed gave us more money earlier than expected‚ but the gold price has dropped quite significantly‚ losing more than 1% today‚ which is quite strange. Bernanke has linked QE with the US inflation rate and US unemployment rate. The desired US inflation and unemployment levels might be reached quicker than thought‚ and then QE3 will be stropped‚ and that is probably why world markets are trading lower‚” a local trader said.

At 12.57am the gold price was seen trading 0.75% softer at $1‚695.95 per fine ounce from $1‚708.73 on Wednesday.

On the JSE‚ Anglo American (AGL) shed 1.92% to R259.41‚ Gold Fields (GFI) lifted 1.3% to R101.58 and Barloworld (BAW) gained a further 2.59% to R82.07.

Richemont (CFR) was off 1.67% to R67.06‚ but the counter has made huge gains in the past few months.

In the banking sector‚ African Bank (ABL) jumped 2.66% to R30.84‚ despite trading ex-dividend.

Construction group Aveng (AEG) improved another 2.38% to R30.50 and PPC (PPC) jumped 4.23% to R33.99‚ it’s highest level for a number of months.

Pick n Pay led the retailers with a 2.61% gain to R43.30. - I-Net Bridge