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BS: JSE weaker but gold shares jump after US strike in Syria
Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking analysts say the local outlook remains fluid and the US remains the real driver
The JSE was weaker at midday on Friday as countrywide anti-Zuma protests drew huge numbers onto the streets of the major cities with opposition parties resolute that the fight for his removal will not end soon.

Parliament will vote on April 18 for President Jacob Zuma’s removal as president, with opposition parties now pushing for a secret ballot to unseat the ANC leader.

Analysts said the 50 South African Communist Party (SACP) members with dual ANC membership would be crucial to the no-confidence vote. The SACP, together with Cosatu, has called for the president to step down.

The rand was largely unchanged at R13.75/$ for most of the morning as international focus shifted to President Donald Trump’s action to release a bombing raid on a Syrian airfield in retaliation for an earlier gas attack on a Syrian town.

Russia reacted strongly to Trump’s action, calling it an “act of aggression”. The rising international tension supported the gold price, which was up 1.03% to $1,264.59/oz at midday, a five-month high.

“The local outlook remains particularly fluid, but, barring any unforeseen local headlines, the real driver on the day will be the US,” Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) analysts said.

US nonfarm payroll data are set to be released later in the day. A better than expected number would increase the likelihood of a US interest rate increase in June or July.

The dollar, however, was largely unmoved, trading at $1.0633 to the euro with most of the expected US interest rate prospects already priced in, according to analysts.

At 12.41pm the all share was 0.50% weaker at 52,652 points and the blue-chip top 40 dropped 0.64%.

The gold index was up 3.65% and banks continued to recover from a firm start in choppy trade, gaining 0.54%. General retailers rose 0.28% and financials 0.20%. Resources shed 1.53% and industrials 0.42%.

Among individual shares on the JSE, Anglo American retreated 2.81% to R209.30.

Kumba Iron Ore softened 5.62% to R211.44.

Among gold stocks, Gold Fields was up 4.61% to R52.16 and Harmony gained 3.38% to R37.90. Sibanye was up 3.11% to R34.49.

Barclays Africa gained 2.54% to R139.25 in the banking sector. Standard Bank was up 0.51% to R137.17.

Among financials, Sanlam rose 0.98% to R65.06 and Old Mutual dropped 0.43% to R32.50.

Naspers shed 1.44% to R2,395.90.