The JSE was slightly weaker at midday on Friday, with gold and resource shares weighing on the all-share index, while banking stocks continued their strong run after Nedbank reported a 11.5% rise in net interest income.
Wayne McCurrie of RMB Asset Management, said resource shares, the previous darlings of the JSE, continued to weigh on the market as global economic growth slowed.
“The Nedbank results show why the banking sector has outperformed the retailers and most of the rest of the market this year, but by the time the results are released it is almost old news and has an information value only rather than moving the share,” he said.
At 11:57 local time, the JSE all-share index was down 0.35% to 34,253 points, with gold mining shares losing 0.64%, resources shedding 1.81%, while platinum counters eased by 0.25%.
Financials were up 0.24%, banking stocks lifting 0.25%, while industrials were fairly flat (-0.08%).
The rand was trading at 7.74 to the US dollar from 7.72 at the JSE's close on Thursday, while gold was quoted at US$1,629.75 a troy ounce from US$1,635.31/oz at the JSE's previous close, while platinum was at $1,529.20/oz, from $1,539.50/oz at the previous session. The FTSE 100 was down 0.71%.
Global markets are focused on the April US jobs data due out at 14:30. Dow Jones Newswires said the US economy likely added 168,000 jobs in April, according to the consensus forecast from a Dow Jones survey, up from 120,000 jobs the previous month. However, given the unclear economic picture, the figure will likely need to beat expectations for investors to rule out more Fed action and bid up the dollar, said Samarjit Shankar, managing director of global strategy at BNY Mellon in Boston.
Among banking shares, Nedbank (NED) rose R1.47 to R174.01. The financial services group reported a strong first quarter of 2012, with net interest income growing 11.5% to R4.774 billion compared with R4.283 billion in the first quarter of 2011, underpinned by steady growth in average interest-earning banking assets of 7.2%. Absa (ASA) was up R2.52, or 1.56%, to R163.62.
On the JSE, Anglo American (AGL) was down R7.59, or 2.56%, to R289.00, while BHP Billiton (BIL) fell R5.26, or 2.11%, to R243.52 and Sasol (SOL) lost R6.24, or 1.7%, to R361.30.
AngloGold Ashanti (ANG) dipped R2.49 to R255.57, Gold Fields (GFI) slipped 55 cents to R97.07, but Harmony (HAR) rose 19 cents to R73.03.
Anglo American Platinum (AMS) dropped R1 to R492, while Impala Platinum (IMP) gained 24 cents to R146.79.
In construction, Aveng (AEG) gained 67 cents to R39.97.
Astral Foods (ARL) was down R2.68, or 2.15%, to R122. The poultry producer advised on Friday that a reasonable degree of certainty exists that its earnings and headline earnings per share for the six months ended March 2012 would both reflect a decrease of between 16% and 19% compared to the previous comparable period. - I-Net Bridge