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The local bourse slipped on Wednesday as it was pulled down by an earnings warning released by Shoprite’s, however, gains in the bullion sector capped JSE losses. At the close of business, both the All Share and the Top 40 were down 0.47%.
US indices rallied on Wednesday due to positive earnings data released by Apple, Boeing and Amazon, as well as optimistic market predictions around the upcoming monetary policy updates to be released by the US Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) later on Wednesday. At market close, the Dow was up 1.77%.
On Wednesday European markets were boosted by strong results released by luxury goods companies such as Louis Vuitton; however, the trade discussions between the US and China kept investors cautious. The STOXX 600 closed up 0.25%, heading to its best monthly performance since October 2015.
The Hang Seng rose slightly on Wednesday as investors expected the Fed would not hike US interest rates. At market close, the Hang Seng was 0.40% higher and the Shanghai 0.72% down.
Japan’s Nikkei fell on Wednesday despite the positive performance by Apple Inc because of Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma dropping severely after a failed drug trial. At the close of trade, the Nikkei was 0.52% lower.
The local currency continued its climb on Wednesday. Although Bloomberg data showed that the rand strengthened against the dollar in seven of the past 10 years during February, certain economists advised investors to stay mindful of the rand’s volatility. At 22h30, the rand traded at R13.35 a dollar, R17.52 a pound and R15.34 a euro.
On Wednesday gold prices almost reached an eight-month peak as investors were prudent ahead of the Fed’s policy announcements, the softening dollar, the Brexit vote results and the ever-looming US-China trade talks. At 22h30, spot gold was trading at $1 318.74 an ounce.
Oil prices rose further on Wednesday due to US stockpiles being lower than expected, and investors fearing the disrupted supply brought on by US sanctions imposed on PDVSA, a Venezuelan state-owned oil company. At 22h30, benchmark Brent crude was trading at $61.62 per barrel.
Source: Reuters, Business Day, Trading Economics
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