Cape Town - The JSE edged up slightly in cautious trade on Wednesday, as the market waits in anticipation for President Jacob Zuma to resign by midnight or be removed by Parliament on Thursday in a vote of no confidence.
The All-Share was up 0.33%, with the blue-chip Top 40 up 0.30%, industrials up by 0.80% and financials up 0.07%. This was countered by the resource stocks where there was a drop of 0.62% with the gold miners adding 0.25% on the day.
There were good moves for Harmony Gold [JSE:HAR], up 10.51%, Nampak [JSE:NPK] up 6.44% and Bid Corp [JSE:BID] up 5.47%, while Resilient [JSE:RES] and Greenbay Properties [JSE:GRP] continued to feel the pressure, down 5.88% and 3.68% respectively.
Elsewhere, the rand continues to trade stronger against major currencies, buoyed by the renewed political optimism, trading at R11.82 to the dollar, R16.43 to the pound and R14.62 to the euro.
Precious metals rose for a second day. Gold was trading higher at $1 338.50 per ounce, silver up at $16.61 per troy ounce and platinum trading at $982.30 per troy ounce.
Oil prices rose after US Crude Oil Inventories came in below the analysts forecast. Brent Crude is currently trading at $63.20/bbl and WTI trading at $59.77/bbl.
Asian markets closed mixed, after the US indexes recorded a third straight day of gains overnight. Hong Kong's Hang Seng led the way up by 2.27%, with China’s Shanghai Composite also up by 0.46% ahead of Thursday's Lunar New Year holidays, while Japan’s Nikkei slipped as much as 0.43% on the firmer yen.
European stocks reversed earlier gains, after US inflation data beat expectations, re-igniting fears over inflation and increased volatility, but managed to close higher on the day. The DAX was up by 0.46%, the CAC-40 by 0.36% and the FTSE by 0.04%.
US equities followed suit, opening lower. The Dow, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell by roughly 0.50% amid renewed fears of faster-than-expected increases in interest rates.
Bitcoin rallied, steadily clawing back some of its losses despite the negative press around its future, and potential regulatory headwinds.
The world’s largest cryptocurrency is up 7.00% on the day, trading at $9 187, while Ethereum was down roughly 5.5% trading at $887.