19/04/2010 A generic pic of the JSE board at Sandton JHB. Photo: Leon Nicholas

The JSE set another record high in midday trade on Thursday, piercing through the 34,000 mark on the all-share index on firmer risk appetite.

At 12:08 local time, the JSE all-share index rallied 1.29% to 34,071.76 points, led by gold shares up 4.01%, resources strengthened 2.25%, and platinum shares added 1.57%.

Banks moved up 1.50%, financials gathered 1.10% and industrials picked up 0.56%.

The rand firmed to 7.82 to the dollar from 8.03 at the JSE's close on Wednesday. Gold lifted to US$1,716.09 a troy ounce from US$1,652.64 at the JSE's previous close, while platinum was quoted at US$1,609/oz, from US$1,547/oz at the previous close.

Kevin Algeo, market analyst at Imara SP Reid, said the local bourse drew support from the US Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates lower until 2014. “This set a bearish tone for the US dollar but additional stimulus in the system, which supported the gold price.”

European stock markets also pushed higher, lifted by the Fed's stance on interest rates, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

London's FTSE 100 was up 0.91% to 5,775.32 points.

Previously, the Fed had said it expected the period of exceptionally low rates to last until mid-2013, so an extension of the low-rate environment prompted market participants to increase their appetite for risk. “Our own view is that low inflation, especially if commodity price comparatives continue to ease in 2012, should enable the Fed to be tending towards supporting the economy rather than [adopting a] tightening policy,” said Shore Capital.

Markets will keep an eye out for further reports regarding the Greek debt swap agreement. Analysts at Credit Agricole said that the stalemate of the Greek debt talks remained a significant downside risk, curbing rallies.

On the JSE, AngloGold Ashanti surged R11.54 or 3.39% to R351.70, Gold Fields (GFI) jumped R6.14 or 4.96% to R129.84, and Harmony (HAR) lifted R3.69 or 4.06% at R94.50.

Anglo American (AGL) was up R5.33 or 1.62% to R335.33. The mining conglomerate achieved solid production increases in five of its seven major commodities in the fourth quarter of 2011, namely iron ore, metallurgical coal, thermal coal, copper and nickel.

However, both platinum and diamonds suffered production decreases due largely to safety stoppage issues at Anglo American Platinum and waste stripping and maintenance at De Beers' operations.

BHP Billiton (BIL) gained R6.41 or 2.42% to R271.04 and Sasol (SOL) added R7.29 or 1.85% to R400.89.

Lonmin (LON) jumped R5.68 or 4.39% to R134.99. The platinum miner reported that platinum metal in concentrate and refined platinum production increased by 3.5% and 24.3% respectively on a year-on-year basis. “These results benefited from a healthy opening ore stock position at the end of September 2011 and consistent metallurgical recovery rates,” the company said as it released its first 2012 production report & interim management statement.

Standard Bank (SBK) was up R1.70 or 1.61% to R107.

Among industrials, Barloworld (BAW) lifted R3.10 or 3.61% to R89. - I-Net Bridge