The Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Top 40 index rose 1.18% to 61,877 points yesterday and the broader All-Share index closed 1.19% higher at 68,587 points. Shares in pharmaceutical company Dis-Chem ended the day 5.56% higher after half-year results showed a 35.5% jump in profits. Partial results from Monday’s local elections showed the ruling African National Congress (ANC) on 46% of the vote after three-quarters of the results, meaning it was all but certain to get less than 50% of the vote in an election for the first time since it ended white minority rule in 1994.
The Rand fell further on Wednesday towards an eight-month low hit in the previous session as the country’s ruling party headed for its worst-ever election result in a local election on Monday. At the close of trading, the rand was trading around R15.26 against the dollar, 1.13% firmer. The rand was influenced by global factors. Internationally, markets followed the US Federal Reserve’s meeting to approve plans to reduce pandemic-era stimulus.
Gold prices recovered from three-week lows today as the dollar weakened after the Federal Reserve approved plans to scale back its stimulus programme this month, while interest rates will remain low for some time. Oil prices continued their slide today, pushing U.S. futures below $80 a barrel, after Iran and world powers agreed to resume nuclear talks later this month, which could lead to the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil and boost global supplies.
Dis-Chem resumes interim dividend
Emerging chemist and healthcare group Dis-Chem resumed paying an interim dividend, announcing on Wednesday a payout of 19.5 cents per share for the six months ending Aug. 31, 2021. The company reported strong double-digit revenue growth of 16.6% to R14.9 billion for the period, leading to a 35.3% increase in earnings per share (Heps) from 36 cents in the first half of 2020 to 48.7 cents in the last six months. Dis-Chem is again paying an interim dividend after deciding to withhold its dividend for the corresponding half of 2020 in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic, and as the group prioritises acquisitions such as that of Baby City, the baby-focused retail chain.
Mr Price expects half-year profit to rise to 40%
Clothing and homewares retail giant Mr Price Group expects its half-year profit for the period ending October 2 to rise 30% to 40%, driven by improved retail performance. The JSE-listed company reported in a Sens trading update on Wednesday that it expects earnings per share (Heps) for the period to rise between 433.6 cents per share and 466.9 cents per share.
The retailer saw a sharp drop in profits in the 2020 half, which was exacerbated by the stringent lockdown measures. “In this affected base, all of the group’s South African stores were closed during the nationwide lockdown between 27 March and 30 April 2020, with additional subsequent trading restrictions enforced due to the Covid 19 pandemic”. Sales revenue decreased by 24.8% during this period,” Price said.