The JSE. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

The JSE was higher at noon on Wednesday‚ on the back of a weaker rand and a continued recent run in the resources sector.

“We have been seeing a rebound in the resources sector the last two days‚ after resources have been struggling for a long time. We are seeing some bargain hunting at these levels. Anglo American‚ BHP Billiton‚ Kumba and Exxaro are keeping the market at record highs‚” said Hennie Fourie‚ stockbroker at PSG Konsult‚ in Pretoria.

“Resources are higher even with the bad results from Rio Tinto‚ as the bad news appears to have already been priced into resource counters‚” he added.

“World markets are running on speculation that further monetary stimulus will come out of the US and Europe. All eyes are on Europe‚ with speculation that the European Central Bank might buy Spanish and Italian bonds‚ and that will be a boost for world markets‚” he said.

At 12.33pm on Wednesday the JSE all-share index was up 0.52% at 35‚670.96 points‚ with the resources sector adding 1.23%.

Global miner Rio Tinto announced on Wednesday it had recorded a 34% drop in underlying earnings to US$5.2 billion for the first half of the year. It attributed the drop to lower iron ore prices.

At 12.18pm local time the FTSE 100 was 0.55% lower‚ but off the day’s worse levels‚ with much of the early weakness due to heavyweight stocks such as BP and Shell going ex-dividend.

Meanwhile Hong Kong shares ended flat on Wednesday‚ taking a breather after its recent gains. Analysts said they expected the market to rally further amid improving sentiment due to worries about Europe abating slightly‚ Dow Jones Newswires reported. Japan's Nikkei closed up 0.75%.

Among local top movers‚ Anglo American (AGL) gained R5.51‚ or 2.18%‚ to R258.84 and BHP Billiton (BIL) added R2.58‚ or 1.03%‚ to R252.62.

Exxaro (EXX) was up R2.53‚ or 1.45%‚ to R177.20

Amongst gold counters‚ Gold Fields (GFI) gained R1.65‚ or 1.52%‚ to R110.14 and Harmony (HAR) added R1.23‚ or 1.54%‚ to R81.26.

Aquarius Platinum (AQP) was down 19 cents‚ or 3.97%‚ after the platinum producer posted a headline loss per share of 32.88 US cents in the year to June 2012‚ from the previous comparable period. - I-Net Bridge