Our local bourse started the trading session marginally lower on Thursday and slipped further as the morning progressed. The selling pressure persisted throughout the afternoon with our market eventually finishing the day down by 0.31% at the close. The biggest loser for the day was the gold mining sector, depreciating 0.72% by market close. Leading the downside were Anglogold Ashanti and Gold Fields, falling by 2.64% and 0.63% respectively. Our telecommunication sector bucked the trend and finished 1.30% higher, driven largely by MTN which closed the day 1.65% stronger.
On the company front, in interim results from Afrimat, headline earnings per share (HEPS) was up 7,4% to 102,2 cents, a reported Net Asset Value (NAV) per share of 809 cents while the business also declared an interim dividend 20,0 cents per share. In a business update from Truworths, retail sales for the first 17 trading weeks (3 July 2017 to 29 October 2017) of the 2018 financial period (‘the current period’) decreased by 3% to R5.5 billion. Intu Properties plc and Lasalle Investment management announced the creation of a joint venture to own Intu Chapelfield were LaSalle would acquire a 50% interest in the property for a net consideration of £148 million. In results from Foschini, group turnover was up 9,2% (constant currency +12,6%) to R12,5 billion, a record for the Group. Headline earnings per share excluding acquisition costs wad up 1,6% (constant currency +3,9%) to 504,9 cents. The group declared an interim dividend of 325,0 cents per share , a 1,6% increase. In a voluntary trading update from Tongaat Hulett, operating profit for the half-year is expected to be R1,471 billion (2016: R1,350 billion), an increase of roughly 9%. Headline earnings are expected to be approximately R661 million, compared to the R631 million earned in the previous half-year, an increase of some 4,8%.
On the Economic front, The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI rose to 50.8 in October of 2017 from 48.1 in September which was the lowest in fifteen months. The Bank of England raised its benchmark Bank Rate by 25bps to 0.5% on November 2nd 2017, in line with market expectations, signalling the beginning of a gradual tightening process. It is the first rate increase in a decade after inflation stayed well above the 2% target for the eighth straight month in September amid a weaker sterling and higher energy prices. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 5 thousand to 229 thousand in the week ended October 28th, below market expectations of 235 thousand. Total value traded for the day was R14.39bn.
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