Local stocks gave back earlier gains boosted by positive corporate earnings to close in the red as investors feared rising commodity prices in the wake of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine would further fuel global inflation. The Johannesburg All-Share Index closed 0.19% weaker at 77,390 points, while the Top 40 Index fell 0.25% to 70,882 points. Among the decliners were technology growth stocks, whose index fell 2.24%, with market heavyweights Naspers and Prosus down 1.95% and 2.80%, respectively.
The rand traded lower early Thursday, giving back gains from the previous session as traders grew cautious that Russia’s incursion into Ukraine could dampen economic growth. However, by the close of trading, the rand was trading around R15.19 against the dollar, 0.89% firmer.
Gold prices rose this morning, posting their biggest weekly gain since May 2021, as investors sought safe-haven assets following Russia’s attack on a nuclear power plant in Ukraine – the largest of its kind in Europe. Meanwhile, oil prices rallied early today as the disruption of Russian oil exports due to Western sanctions outweighed the prospect of more Iranian supplies due to a possible nuclear deal.
MTI settlers agree to unwind net losers before winners
The liquidators of failed bitcoin business Mirror Trading International (MTI) agreed this week to process the claims of net losers before those of net winners, some of whom are fighting in court to keep their winnings. Earlier, MTI investor Chris Kriel, who represents 15,000 net losers in the scheme under the name Get a Quid, asked the Supreme Court to postpone planned investigations into the scheme and dismiss the receivers for irregular conduct. Of the tens of thousands of claims filed with the receivers, only one was accepted, that of JNX Online, a company previously controlled by MTI founder Johann Steynberg and subsequently placed into liquidation.
MultiChoice discontinues Russian news channel
JSE-listed MultiChoice Group has confirmed that Russian state news channel Russia Today (RT) has been “removed from the DStv platform until further notice.” However, the decision does not appear to have been made by the SA -based entertainment group itself, but is related to the fact that MultiChoice is no longer receiving distribution for the RT channel from its European feed suppliers. “The sanctions imposed by the European Union [EU] on Russia have resulted in the channel’s global distributor no longer providing feed to all suppliers, including MultiChoice,” the group said in its brief statement.