Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange traded slightly lower on Friday, with both the AllShare index and the blue-chip Top 40 index down 0.07%. The commodities sector was the biggest drag on the day, as the local J210 index fell 1.35%. Among individual stocks, MTN led the blue-chip index with a 3.84% gain. Anglo American Platinum lost 5.12% and was the worst performer in the top 40 index on Friday.
The Rand trended weaker on Friday, bringing the Rand’s weekly loss to 2.75%. At the close of trading, the rand was trading at R15.55 to the dollar, 0.68% weaker than the previous day. The dollar traded near its high for the year against the euro this morning. Stock market volatility is likely to push the dollar higher in the short term as traders eye upcoming meetings of the Australian, British and European central banks.
Gold prices fell for a fourth straight session today and were on the verge of their biggest monthly decline since last September as the U.S. dollar strengthened ahead of key central bank meetings, making the precious metal more expensive for holders of other currencies. Meanwhile, oil prices rose 1% this morning, hovering near the 7-year high it hit in the previous session, amid concerns about tight supply and geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Massmart FY sales decline, Game continues to weigh on performance
Retail and wholesale group Massmart reported a 1.9% decline in group sales to R84.9 billion in the 52 weeks to December 26, 2021. The decline was due to restrictions on liquor trading caused by Covid-19, as well as lost sales at stores damaged during the July riots and supply chain issues, the group said Friday in a Sens statement. The July unrest, which wreaked havoc in the economic centres of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng following the arrest of former President Jacob Zuma, significantly impacted the group’s trading capabilities, with 43 stores damaged.
Steinhoff to cut debt costs through further disposals
Steinhoff International Holdings NV ‘s next priorities are to reduce debt interest, sell another stake in European retail group Pepco Group NV and list its U.S. and Australian units. The plans will help the South African company rebuild after it received approval to pay out about 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) to investors following an accounting scandal in late 2017. Steinhoff published its annual report on Friday with an unqualified audit opinion – the first time since the scandal that the company has met a regulatory deadline and received a clean audit.