Asian markets were weaker for a second successive day as the Nikkei retreated 0.46%, whilst the Shanghai composite was 0.15% lower on the day. The Hang Seng and the ASX 200 eased 0.05% and 0.02% respectively. Demonstrations in Hong Kong were curbed on Thursday as anti-riot police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse of the protestors. Calls of another protest on Sunday shook markets in Asia as the prospects of a prolonged demonstration look likely.
Year on year Gold production for South Africa for the month of April declined by 19.5% which was down from 18.3% in the month of March. Mining Production for the month of April declined by -2.3% in the month of April down from 4.2% in the month of March.
The weekly Jobs numbers out of the US surprised to the downside on Thursday with initial jobless claims increasing to 222,000 new claims whilst continuing claims increased to 1.695 million claims up 1.675 million the previous week. These weaker jobs numbers could provide more pressure for the FED to consider a rate cut next week. Export Prices in the US also declined by 0.7%, which could be a result of Sino-US trade wars.
The miners posted a second successive positive close on the JSE as diversified mining giant BHP Group Plc [JSE:BHP] added 1.49% to trade at 36403c. This is the highest closing trading price that the mining group has recorded on the JSE. The group is at 8-year highs on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and is also trading at 8-year highs on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
Other notable gains were recorded by Exxaro [JSE:EXX], Harmony Gold Mining Ltd [JSE:HAR], Royal Bafokeng Platinum [JSE:RBP] and African Rainbow Minerals [JSE:ARI], which posted gains of 4.46%, 3.48% and 3.28% respectively.
Omnia Holdings [JSE:OMN] continued to retreat on Thursday shedding 6.93% as losses were recorded across the retail sector. Losses were recorded by Massmart Holdings Ltd [JSE:MSM], Truworths International Ltd [JSE:TRU], and Shoprite Ltd [JSE:SHP], retreated 4.41%, 3.96% and 3.04% respectively.
The JSE All-Share index closed 0.07% firmer whilst the JSE Top-40 index shed 0.05%. The Resource index rallied on the day supported by firmer commodity prices to chalk up gains of 1.42%, the Industrials retreated 0.47% whilst the Financials eased 0.84%.
At 17.00 CAT, Palladium was 1.97% firmer adding on to the gains posted on Wednesday to trade at $1433/Oz, Platinum was weaker shedding 0.17% to trade at $809.95/Oz, whilst Gold was 0.4% firmer at $1336.80/Oz.
Brent crude was marginally firmer on Thursday after Wednesday's crude inventories showed a build in inventories. Brent crude was trading at $61.15 per barrel at 17:00 CAT.
The Rand was marginally weaker on the trade and was trading at R14.87 against the USD, R16.78 to the Euro and R18.89 to the Pound Sterling.