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

The gold and resources gauges led the rally on the JSE on Thursday due to stronger commodity prices on a softer dollar.

The local bourse almost touched its all-time record reached a week ago due to risk-on global appetite‚ after rumours that the Republicans and Democrats were close to sealing a deal to avoid the US fiscal cliff of higher taxes and spending cuts early next year.

At 5pm‚ the all share index closed 1.26% higher at 37‚909.31 points‚ with the top 40 index gaining 1.32% to 33‚664.60. Gold and resource stocks rallied 4.26% and 2.33% respectively.

Leading European markets were broadly higher due to Wednesday’s strong US market gains‚ buoying investor sentiment in Europe. At 5pm local time the FTSE 100 index in London was 0.96% higher at 5‚858.74 points and the Paris CAC had surged 1.16%.

At the same time the Dow Jones Industrial index was 0.36% higher at 13‚031.95 points after President Barack Obama made upbeat remarks on budget talks and a measure of layoffs fell more than expected‚ Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits fell to 393‚000 last week from an expected 395‚000 claims.

On the local front‚ gold miners rallied after Gold Fields (GFI) said it will split its South African and foreign assets which will unlock value for investors.

“Other gold miners such as AngloGold Ashanti rose on the Gold Fields news‚ while Harmony was stronger due to the recovery in the gold price‚ with commodity prices higher on some positive news with regards to the US fiscal cliff issue‚” said Andrew Flavell‚ senior portfolio manager at Consilium Securities.

“The gold price was higher on a weaker dollar‚ which shed value after the positive fiscal cliff news and risk-on trade resumed‚” he added.

At 5.05pm local time the gold price was quoted at $1‚724.75 from $1‚722.39 the previous day.

Among local counters that moved‚ Gold Fields (GFI) rallied 5.61% to close at R108.60‚ after the bullion producer said it was unbundling its Beatrix and Kloof Driefontein mines into a separately listed vehicle on the local bourse. AngloGold Ashanti (ANG) lifted 3.89% to close at R275 and Harmony (HAR) tacked on 2.24% to R69.74.

Platinum player Lonmin (LON) rallied 6.33% to R38.49.

Anglo American (AGL) rose 3.35% to R246.65‚ BHP Billiton (BIL) added 2.10% to R277 and ArcelorMittal SA (ACL) advanced 2.17% to close at R30.65. - I-Net Bridge