SA Company News:
The JSE faces mixed Asian markets on Friday morning, with the rand slightly firmer, ahead of the speech from US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell that will be closely watched. South African retailer Woolworths Holdings resumed dividend payouts on Thursday after its annual profit surged, and the sale of some Australian properties helped it to cut its debt. Retailer Massmart released its results for the six months to end-June, no dividend as expected. Steinhoff International is due to release a trading update for the three months to end-June, its third quarter.
The South African government will be tightening its belt further this financial year, as downward risks to the fiscus have materialised after it lost a bruising battle with labor unions over wage increases. The government’s wage bill accounts for about a third of consolidated spending. Proposed land expropriation threatens to hit the SA economy, the government’s proposed land expropriation without compensation initiative threatens to jeopardise food security, dissuade investment, and will have a profoundly negative impact on South Africa’s economy.
The Dow Jones Index fell 0.54%, Losses were led by Boeing, Nike, and Caterpillar. Investors await the highly anticipated Powell speech later for more details on the Fed’s tapering plans. In morning trade on Friday, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.49% and the Hang Seng 0.51%, while Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.56%.
Gold price gained 0.5% to $1,804 an ounce on Friday morning. Brent crude rose 0.25% to $71.27 and is on track to gain more than 8% for the week. Platinum had gained 0.97% to $988.52/oz.
The rand was flat at R14.90/$, having strengthened for the past four consecutive sessions. The dollar was down on Friday morning in Asia with investors digesting hawkish comments from some U.S. Federal Reserve officials. The euro traded at $1.1765.
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