JSE lower on stronger rand

File: The JSE opened lower on Thursday‚ pausing in its long winning streak‚ as rand hedges dropped. Photo: eNCA/Herbert Opland

JOHANNESBURG - The JSE opened lower on Thursday‚ pausing in its long winning streak‚ as rand hedges dropped.

The local currency was stronger following less hawkish sentiment among US Federal Reserve officials expressed in the September minutes of the Federal open market committee (FOMC)‚ released late on Wednesday.

Platinum stocks were firm favourites at the JSE’s opening as the platinum price added 0.34% to $935.53 an ounce.

The dollar weakened in overnight trade in response to the Fed minutes but was flat at $1.8640 to the euro in early trade on Thursday‚ while the rand hit a monthly best level of R13.4535 to the dollar.

READ: Rand stages recovery as dollar rally pauses

The Dow Jones industrial average closed 0.18% up at a record 22‚872.89 on Wednesday. Asian markets were firmer on Thursday as the Nikkei 225 rose 0.35% and the Hang Seng 0.36%.

Industrials and resources on the JSE opened weaker but retailers and banks found support from the stronger local currency.

“The stronger rand trend was further supported this morning by the outcome of the Fed minutes‚ in which the tone was less hawkish and more divided than the markets were apparently expecting‚” analysts at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) said.

Although the market has priced in a December Fed hike‚ it is unclear how many increases are due for 2018 as overall consumer inflation is expected to remain subdued‚ despite a recent uptick.

At 9.30am on the JSE the all share was 0.12% off at 57‚699.40 and the benchmark top 40 was 0.23% lower. Industrials shed 0.32%‚ resources 0.21% and food and drug retailers 0.14%.
Platinum miners rose 1.1%‚ general retailers 0.68%‚ banks 0.36% and financials 0.31%.

READ: September US payrolls contract in wake of Harvey, Irma

Among the rand hedges Richemont shed 1.11% to R123.70 and Anheuser-Busch InBev 1.08% to R1‚666.73.

Among platinum stocks Northam rose 1.48% to R49.33‚ Anglo American Platinum 1.21% to R355.51 and Impala Platinum 1.03% to R32.33.

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