The JSE. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

The JSE drifted slightly lower during its opening session on Wednesday‚ taking a breather after setting a new closing record on the all-share and other constituent indices.

At 09:22 local time‚ the JSE all-share index was down 0.12% to 34‚672.86 points‚ with gold shares dipping 0.54%‚ resources losing 0.36% and platinum counters shedding 0.35%.

Financials were flat (0.01%)‚ as were banking stocks (0.07%) and industrials (-0.01%).

The rand was trading at 8.20 to the US dollar‚ from 8.21 at the JSE's close on Tuesday‚ while gold was quoted at US$1‚617.17 a troy ounce from US$1‚626.15/oz at the JSE's previous close and platinum was at $1‚484.20/oz‚ from $1‚493.50/oz previously.

“It is mild profit-taking ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s statement‚ which is going to be the main focus of investor attention‚” said Kevin Algeo‚ market analyst at Imara SP Reid.

European stocks opened lower following stellar gains in the previous session but investors continue to feel that central banks will act soon to curb slowing economic growth‚ starting with the Federal Reserve‚ which is due to make its monthly rate announcement later on Wednesday‚ Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Fed officials have a number of options at their disposal — such as extending the programme known as Operation Twist‚ where the central bank sells short-term Treasury bills and puts the money into longer-term securities.

Alternatively‚ it could launch a new round of quantitative easing.

London’s FTSE slipped 0.20%.

However‚ Asian shares mostly lifted‚ with Japan's Nikkei ending the session 1.11% firmer‚ while the Hang Seng index gained 0.58%.

On the JSE‚ Anglo American (AGL) slipped 87 cents to R281.43‚ BHP Billiton (BIL) was down R1.63 to R241.37‚ while Sasol (SOL) edged up 21 cents to R374.77.

AngloGold Ashanti (ANG) lost 29 cents to R304.71‚ Gold Fields (GFI) shed R1.05 to R112.36 and Harmony Gold Mining (HAR) was off 93 cents‚ or 1.07%‚ to R86.07.

In platinum stocks‚ Impala Platinum (IMP) dipped 99 cents to R145.26 and Aquarius Platinum (AQP) was off 24 cents‚ or 3%‚ to R7.75.

Among other miners‚ Exxaro (EXX) gained R1 to R210.

In industrials‚ British American Tobacco (BTI) was down R3.08 to R410.91 but AECI (AFE) was up R1.70‚ or 2.13%‚ to R81.50.

Among telecoms shares‚ MTN (MTN) added 70 cents to R139.50.

Santam (SNT) lost R9.70‚ or 5.44%‚ to R168.68 after rising over 8% on Tuesday. Dealers could not establish a reason for the share’s volatility. - I-Net Bridge