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

Johannesburg – The JSE was lower at midday on Monday‚ after earlier having hit a fresh record peak‚ in the face of profit taking and as a sell-off in gold stocks continued.

At 12.37pm‚ the all-share index was down 0.44% at 40‚361.14 points‚ with the top 40 index giving up 0.46% to 35‚897.04‚ while the gold index slid 1.25%.

“Gold stocks remain under pressure on the combination of a pullback in gold price‚ a slightly stronger rand and generally negative sentiment associated with labour tensions in the mining sector‚” said Ferdi Heyeneke‚ portfolio manager at Afrifocus Securities. “Apart from gold stocks‚ the market is drifting lower on profit taking.”

The rand was pretty steady to the US dollar from Friday’s closing levels but firmer from last week’s levels when the local unit breached the R9/$ barrier. At 12.37pm‚ the local currency was at 8.9469 to the greenback from 8.9422 previously.

Elsewhere‚ leading European shares were mostly flat at noon‚ with UK’s FTSE 100 last up one point‚ while the Dow futures pointed to a flat open on Wall Street later in the day.

Among individual stocks on the JSE‚ AngloGold Ashanti (ANG) gave up 1.34% to R248.03 and Harmony Gold (HAR) slid 3.66% to R61.90.

Diversified industrial group Bidvest (BVT) was down 1.24% to R217.28 while Telkom (TKG) dropped 1.08% to R16.41.

Aveng (AEG) was up 1.98% to R29.84‚ while Group Five (GRF) added 1.33% to R31.92. Group Five said earlier it anticipated fully diluted headline earnings per share in the six months ended December 2012 to be between 10%-20% higher from the same period a year earlier. - I-Net Bridge