The Johannesburg All-Share Index closed 1.21% lower at 74,838, while the blue-chip Top 40 Index closed 1.32% lower at 68,235. Naspers, the top investor in Tencent, fell 9.45% after the Chinese social media giant posted its slowest quarterly revenue growth since its IPO in 2004. Prosus, which fell 8.86%, and Naspers together account for more than 7% of the benchmark index, heavily impacting the stock market’s performance. South Africa’s central bank is expected to raise its benchmark interest rate to 4.25%, according to a Reuters poll of economists.
The rand advanced on Wednesday as hawkish comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve fueled global risk appetite and investors digested stable domestic inflation data. At the close of trading, the rand was R14.76, or 0.32%, firmer against the dollar on gains in gold and expectations that the central bank will raise interest rates today. Domestic inflation remained stable at 5.7% in February, according to consumer price data released Wednesday by Statistics South Africa.
Gold prices were unchanged this morning as the dollar strengthened and yields remained near multi-year highs, erasing support from an escalation in the Ukraine crisis. Oil prices extended gains today after surging in the first half of the week as traders considered additional supply disruptions following reports of storm damage at a key Black Sea export terminal. Oil markets jumped more than 5% on Wednesday following reports that crude exports from the Kazakhstan Pipeline Consortium (CPC) had been completely halted after storm damage. Russia’s deputy prime minister said oil supplies could be disrupted for two months.
PPC LIMITED – Current information on operations
PPC expects total group cement sales to increase 4-8% year-on-year in the 12 months to March 31, 2022, with double-digit volume growth in Zimbabwe and Rwanda. South Africa and Botswana Cement recorded low single-digit cement sales volume growth as volumes normalised from a high base. Compared to the twelve months ended March 31, 2020 (before COVID -19), the Group’s cement sales volumes are expected to increase by 11%-15%. The Group’s building materials business also saw a recovery in demand with an increase in sales volumes compared to the previous year. The ready-mix concrete and aggregates businesses continue to experience a recovery in demand, supported by a pick-up in construction activity in the regions in which they operate.
BELL EQUIPMENT LIMITED – Further trading statement
Shareholders are advised that the Company’s earnings per share and total earnings per share for the year ending December 31, 2021 are expected to be between 295 cents and 305 cents per share (and between 362 cents and 372 cents higher, respectively) and between 291 cents and 297 cents per share (and between 322 cents and 328 cents higher, respectively), compared to the loss per share and total loss per share of 67 cents and 31 cents, respectively, for the year ending December 31, 2020. The expected increase in earnings is mainly due to improved market conditions, which have positively impacted production and sales performance.