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

The SA stock market traded in a narrow range at noon but remained in record territory‚ tracking mildly positive sentiment on global markets.

At 12.20pm‚ the all share index was up 0.24% at 38‚448.24 points‚ with the top 40 index nudging up 0.25% to 34‚158.58 points. Gold shares‚ however‚ slipped 1.06%.

“We are at a new high almost by stealth‚ with no real conviction‚” said Craig Pheiffer‚ general manager at Absa Investments. “Having said that‚ liquidity continues to flow into equities in the face of low cash and bond yield rates.”

The all-share index is up just under 1% this month.

Leading European markets were broadly higher at noon‚ with no obvious catalyst in play. The ongoing US budget talks remain the key focus of investor attention. The UK’s FTSE 100 was up 0.14% at 12.05pm local time.

“The energy behind the markets is surprising. In my view‚ it is a reflection of investor optimism that the US will get its finances in order going into 2013‚ while China’s economy is picking up‚” Sasfin Securities director David Shapiro said.

On the JSE‚ BHP Billiton (BIL) was up 1.22% at R286.35 but Lonmin (LON) lost 1.51% to R38.51‚ while African Rainbow Minerals (ARI) gained 1.66% to R183.19.

Luxury goods group Richemont (CFR) improved 1.46% to R69.27 but telecoms group MTN (MTN) shed 1.96% to R166.66‚ while banking group Standard Bank (SBK) rose 1.07% to R108.27. - I-Net Bridge