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BS: JSE firmer on positive post-Trump speech sentiment
The all share and blue-chip top 40 move slightly up at midday, and the probability of US Fed interest rate hikes is now seen by many as more likely
The JSE was slightly firmer on Thursday at midday, drawing support from the positive market sentiment flowing from US President Donald Trump’s speech, which saw the Dow rally and break through the 21,000 level on Wednesday.

Rand Merchant Bank analyst Isaah Mhlanga said the probability of interest rates being increased in the US by the Federal Reserve went from 60% to 80% on continued optimism on the back of strong data and hawkish comments from the Fed officials. However, TreasuryOne dealer Andre Botha said the positive sentiment from Wall Street would most likely cancel out the expectation of a rate hike in March.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed 1.46% higher at 21,115.55 points with the dollar seeing a modest improvement, closing stronger against other major currencies.

Asian markets were mixed in the morning with the Nikkei 225 gaining 0.88% while the Shanghai Composite and Heng Seng lost 0.52% and 0.2% respectively.

At 12.03pm, the all share was up 0.22% at 51,798.3 points and the blue-chip top 40 added 0.23%.

Banks, which led the local market, were up by 1.95% while financials gained 0.51%. Gold miners were 1.01% firmer.

European markets were mostly flat with the DAX down 0.15%.

Diversified miners were mixed and led by BHB Billiton‚ which added 1.16% to R219.53. Glencore added 0.92% to R54.60, but Anglo American lost 0.5% to R209.08.

Rand hedge stocks were also mixed with Anheuser-Busch InBev shedding 2.85% to R1,393.14 after it reported disappointing results earlier in the day. In a statement it said the total volume of beer sold in 2016 declined 2% to 500-million hectolitres and that the executive board of management would not receive bonuses this year. British American Tobacco was up 0.25% to R827.79 and Richemont down 1.15% to R96.90.

Harmony Gold Mines led the big gold miners up, by 2.66% to R32.07, followed by Sibanye up 1.82% to R26.32.

Standard Bank was up 3.47% to R151.46 after it reported a 4% increase in headline earnings to R23bn. First Rand was 1.69% up to R51.23.