South Africa’s stocks fall as Trump’s positive Covid-19 test spooks markets

 ·2 Oct 2020

South Africa’s main stock index fell as much as 1.2% after US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he tested positive for Covid-19 roiled markets and drove global equities lower.

“A wave of risk-off sentiment swept through global financial markets” after Trump’s news, Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM, wrote in an emailed note.

Heavyweights BHP Group Plc, Richemont, Anglo American Plc and Naspers Ltd. led the local index lower. Friday’s decline trimmed the gauge’s weekly gain to 1%, its first weekly advance in three.

  • Rand-hedge Richemont fell 2.2%, providing the main drag on the index. Naspers retreated 0.4%, while its subsidiary Prosus NV rose 0.5% to give the biggest boost to the gauge.
  • The index for resource stocks retreated 1.2% as diversified miners joined gold and platinum producers in retreating.
    • BHP -1.2%, Anglo American -0.8%, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. -3.4%, Northam Platinum Ltd. -3.4%, Sibanye Stillwater Ltd. -2.2%, Anglo American Platinum Ltd. -2%, Harmony Gold Mining Co. -2.6%, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. -1%
  • A weaker rand drove the index for bank stocks down for the first day in five, falling 2.3%.
    • Standard Bank Group Ltd. -3%, Capitec Bank Holdings Ltd. -2.5%, FirstRand Ltd. -1.7%, Nedbank Group Ltd. -3.6%, Absa Group Ltd. -2.4%
  • Sasol Ltd. fell 2.5% after the company agreed to sell a $2 billion stake in its U.S. base-chemicals business to LyondellBasell Industries NV to help pay down debt.
  • Nampak extended gains to a third day, rising as much as 73% to the highest since March 19. The company announced Wednesday that it had reduced gross debt by 21%.
  • Foreigners turned net buyers of South African stocks on Thursday, ending a nine-day net outflow. Investors purchased R487 million worth of shares, according to exchange operator JSE Ltd.

Read: Trump tests positive for Covid-19

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