South African stocks edged higher for a second successive session on Friday (20 February 2015), led by coal producer Exxaro, where the full-year loss was not as bad as analysts had forecast.
Exxaro, which also has interests in iron ore and base metals, said it would swing to a loss due to a write-down in a Congo Republic iron-ore project, but a good performance in its coal arm stayed a further fall.
“The market was expecting it to be much lower than that,” said Bruno van Eck, a trader at Standard Bank Stockbroking. “So from an analyst perspective it beat estimates.” Exxaro’s share price jumped 3.6% to R112.
The blue-chip JSE Top 40 index was up 0.35% at 46880, and the broader All Share index edged 0.38% higher to 53035.
Food producer Rhodes Food Group was the biggest gainer on the All Share index, rising 6% after it announced it had acquired two food companies.
Northam Platinum ended flat at R47 after it reported a first-half profit, buoyed by higher output after recovering from a protracted strike last year and a weaker rand that increased its earnings.
The euro weakened against the dollar, and global equity markets were mostly lower, off record or multiyear highs, as investors remained cautious about negotiations on a loan agreement to help Greece avoid bankruptcy.
Germany’s DAX index hit a new record intraday high before paring gains, while Europe’s leading index hovered just below seven-year highs. Wall Street opened lower, with the benchmark S&P 500 unable to climb past the 2100 mark.
Greece’s leftist prime minister said he was certain eurozone finance ministers would accept the request by Athens for an extended loan, but Germany demanded “significant improvements” in Greek reform commitments.
A report by German magazine Der Spiegel that the European Central Bank was making contingency plans for a possible Greek exit from the eurozone if talks failed, on which the ECB declined to comment, highlighted the high stakes.
The euro fell against the US dollar for a third session running, and was down 0.26% at $1.1336.
MSCI’s all-country world equity index fell 0.13%, while the European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top regional shares slid 0.03% to 1519.80. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.05% to 17976.08, and the S&P 500 shed 0.15% to 2094.29. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.04% to 4926.53.
Brent crude oil steadied above $60 a barrel as expectations of falling US rig count numbers outweighed concern about oversupply.
Story courtesy of Reuters