JSE marginally higher

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THE JSE was marginally higher at midday on Tuesday from a flat opening as banks and retailers strengthened‚ supported by platinums.

Trading was slow with turnover of only R5bn at midday.

The gold price could not hold above $1‚200 as the dollar traded relatively stable at $1.07 against the euro‚ with a weaker bias.

At 12.07pm the gold price was up 0.25% at $1‚198.04.

Midday market sentiment was dominated by developments in the US‚ where President Donald Trump fired acting attorney-general Sally Yates after she refused to endorse his executive order closing borders to refugees. Shutting out refugees and others from seven largely Muslim countries caused confusion and chaos at international airports.

Banks and retailers were supported by money supply data released in the morning which indicated some improvement in credit provision.

Growth in money supply (M3) accelerated to an annual 6.1% in December‚ higher than the market’s forecast of 4.8% from 4.8% in November. Private sector credit extension growth increased to 5.1%‚ higher than the forecasted 4.7% and from 4.6% in November‚ mainly driven by credit to companies.

“Economic activity was expected to improve slightly in 2017‚ but the inflation trajectory remains a concern‚” said Nedbank economist Johannes Khosa.

The Reserve Bank warned at its first monetary policy meeting that inflationary pressures‚ mainly from the rand‚ would cause the Bank to remain vigilant on interest rates.

At 12.07pm‚ the all share was up 0.40% at 52‚874.10 and the blue-chip 40 rose 0.43%. Banks were up 1.37% and platinums added 1.09%. General retailers rose 1.06%. Financials rebounded 0.93%. The gold index shed 0.58%.

Sasol was down 0.47% to R400.10 on a flat Brent crude price at $55.27 a barrel.

Global luxury goods company Richemont added 2.53% to R106.15.

Impala Platinum rose 1.75% to R52.98‚ but Lonmin shed 2.53% to R21.93.

Standard Bank was up 1.63% to R144.86. Barclays Africa rose 1.55% to R158.93.

Liberty Holdings firmed 0.55% to R111.06.

The Foschini Group rose 2.15% to R161.02 and Woolworths 1.40% to R74.53.

Liberty Two Degrees was off 0.48% to R10.45 among property stocks.

MTN rebounded 2.18% to R126.72.

Naspers was down 1.17% to R2‚131.44. – search regex/BusinessLIVE

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