South Africa Market Watch | June 22nd 2015: South African stocks edge higher on Greece hopes

Johannesburg, South Africa (Capital Markets in Africa) – Financial shares were the big winners on Monday on the  Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) as the local market was lifted by a wave of optimism that Greece and its international creditors would strike a last-minute deal that will see the Greek government avert default.

The Financial index has been under pressure lately despite being oversold. This is because any fallout over the Greek crisis will hit this sector the hardest, despite the fact that South African institutions have no direct exposure to Greece.

Financial stocks also pulled the rest of the market higher, with the All-share index trading 0.73% higher at 52 184. The Top 40 index was at that stage 0.87% better at 46 572.

The Industrial index was 0.84% higher, but the Resources index did not share in investors’ enthusiasm and lost 0.61%. The Gold index dropped sharply due to a lower gold price and traded 4.56% softer. The sector was also hampered by uncertainty over the latest wage talks in the gold industry which started on Monday.

Among local banking shares First Rand South Africa traded 2.58% higher at ZAR 52.39 and Barclays Africa was 2.16% stronger at ZAR 177.59. First Rand lost 6.52% over the past 30 days and Barclays Africa is 8.13% lower over that period, after losing 4.78% over the past seven days. Equally, Standard Bank, which lost more than 11% of its value over the past 30 days, was by Monday midday 1.52% stronger at ZAR 154.60.

On the insurance space, MMI Holdings was one of the biggest movers of the day and traded 3.75% higher at midday at R29.35. The share reached a 52-week high of R34.75 on April 12 this year, but has dropped sharply since then and gave up more than 14% of its value over the past 30 days. Likewise, Sanlam  was also 2.03% higher at R67.77. The share traded as high as R81.01 on April 9 this year before the correction in the financial sector started. The stock lost 10.99% over the past 30 days.

Furthermore,  in the industrial sector Naspers gained 2.03% to close at ZAR 1,908.00, but Steinhoff  lost 1.8% to ZAR 79.00. While SABMiller was 1.39% stronger at ZAR 654.14 and British American Tobacco traded 1.16% higher at ZAR 692.00.

In the resources sector ArcelorMittal  and African Rainbow Minerals both reached new 52-week lows, and both these shares are now more than 55% lower over the past year. ArcelorMittal lost 3.86% to ZAR 13.94 and African Rainbow Minerals traded 1.28% weaker at ZAR 88.11. But, AngloGold Ashanti  lost 5.56%  to trade at ZAR 11.23.

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