Gold and platinum counters weigh on JSE

Johannesburg-South Africa (July 24)  The JSE was weaker on Friday morning as gold and platinum miners were pummelled amid lower commodity prices, and as the local bourse followed Asian markets lower.

The Shanghai Composite lost 1.29%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng index was down 1.14% and the Japanese Nikkei 225 closed 0.67% lower.

Chinese markets weakened after downbeat July manufacturing data, which fuelled concerns about softer economic growth.

At 9.51am the all share pulled back 0.89% to 51,772.80 points and the blue-chip top 40 was down 0.87%. All the main indices were trading in negative terrain.

Gold and platinum miners led the decliners on the bourse, falling 3.95% and 3.49%, respectively, as a strong dollar continued to weigh on commodity prices. Resources were down 1.65%.

Barclays Research analysts said in a global note that China’s flash purchasing managers index (PMI) for July surprised "significantly" to the downside, falling to 48.2, a 15-month low. Chinese equities also fell following the weak PMI figures.

Meanwhile, the US jobs market looks set to post "another strong" payrolls report in July.

Barclays expects a solid 250,000 nonfarm payrolls increase on August 7, based on recent and continuing jobless claims.

Locally, the Reserve Bank hiked the interest rate by 25 basis points to 6% on Thursday. The monetary policy committee noted concern over the inflation outlook towards the end of 2015 and into 2016, and a weak rand.

Among individual shares on the JSE, mining house Anglo American dipped 0.12% to R157. On Friday it said it posted an interim loss of more than $3bn as commodity prices struggled and it would cut more than 50,000 jobs in the coming years.

Rival BHP Billiton lost 1.8% and Glencore was down 1.87% at R42.03 after losing more than 4% on Thursday.

Iron ore miner Kumba slumped 4.83% to R108.20 after dropping more than 4% the day before.

Steel producer ArcelorMittal fell 4.64% to R14.60 after announcing on Thursday it was expecting a steeper first-half loss than in the previous year.

On the gold board, Gold Fields retreated 3.88% to R34.70 and Harmony lost 4.52% to R12.05.

Platinum player Lonmin plunged 8.23% to R13.49 after saying on Friday it would cut 6,000 jobs as metal prices bite.