The Johannesburg stock market was mostly subdued on Wednesday, posting a slight loss at the close of trading as investors were cautious ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s statement. The All-Share Index lost 0.11% to close at 71,467 points and the blue-chip Top 40 Index fell 0.17% to 65,102 points.
On Wednesday, data had shown annual consumer inflation accelerated to 5.5% in November from 5.0% in October, slightly above economists’ forecasts of 5.4%. Producer inflation came in well above expectations at 9.6% in November, compared to forecasts of 8.9%. Local markets were closed yesterday. All local prices show Wednesday’s close.
The rand gained on Wednesday, despite the rise COVID -19 in local infections and an announcement of the U.S. Federal Reserve policy announcement. At the end of Wednesday’s session, the rand was 0.81% firmer. Yesterday, the rand continued to strengthen and traded R15.92 firmer against the dollar, or 0.25%.
Gold prices climbed this morning, heading for their best week since mid-November, as the dollar weakened after the US Federal Reserve decided to withdraw its pandemic-era stimulus measures to combat widening inflation risks. Meanwhile, oil prices eased this morning to end the week roughly unchanged. The rise in Omicron coronavirus cases raised fears that new restrictions could hurt fuel demand, while a weaker dollar generally supported commodity markets.
Tekkie Town plaintiffs reach settlement with Steinhoff
Steinhoff International Holdings NV (SIHNV) confirmed on Wednesday that it had reached a settlement with disgruntled “Former Tekkie Town Owners”. The plaintiffs are now expected to back the scandal-hit Steinhoff Group’s crucial global settlement. In addition, SAHPL will “arrange for the surrender of 29.5 million shares in Pepkor Holdings Limited [PPH] to the Former Tekkie Town Owner Claimants, subject to a lock-up period of 180 calendar days after surrender, in order to gain control of all Steinhoff-related claims brought by the Former Tekkie Town Owner Claimants and their related parties.”
Checkers battles Dis-Chem and Clicks for baby market share
Competition in the retail market for baby products continues to increase. Checkers is the latest major player to aggressively enter this space. The supermarket retailer is taking on Clicks and Dis-Chem, which together control 35% of the market, according to Nielsen. AC Nielsen. By Wednesday, the company will open 11 Little Me stores, all but one of which are in existing Checkers Hypers. There are 38 of these Hyper stores nationwide, and while the group has not announced plans for the future, it’s hard to imagine that these stores will not be in every Hyper by the end of 2022. Interestingly, the company has also opened a standalone Little Me store (in Drakenstein Sentrum, Paarl) – presumably as a pilot project. Drakenstein was an obvious choice for this standalone store as Shoprite owns the center and the only competition is a Clicks.