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Rumbling of the bulls

Covid vaccine boosts markets.
Image: Brian Killigrew, Bloomberg

The markets are taking a bullish turn after experiencing some strain in the past few weeks.

The rand strengthened by 1.77% to R15.34 to the dollar, the JSE closed at its highest level in three months, and the Dow Jones surged 4.49% in early trade – in the wake of Joe Biden being elected as the next US president and a study on Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine showing that it will prevent 90% of infections.

The rand’s strengthening continues a trend that saw it breaking though the R16 barrier on Wednesday, when it started to become clear that Biden was edging ahead of incumbent Donald Trump in the electoral college vote count.

The rand is now trading at its strongest level since early March.

Alsi up

News of an effective Covid-19 vaccine added more positive momentum to markets that have taken a knock in the wake of a resurgence in the spread of the deadly virus in the US and Europe.

Aside from the rand, it was also a good day for the JSE. The Alsi was up 1.63% to close at 57 307 points and the Top 40 closed up 1.56% to shut the day at 52 684 points.

The winners on the day were Sasol closing up 23.6% at R112.59, Bidcorp rising 13.79% to close at R268.84 and AB InBev jumping 9.76% to R985.

Overall, the financial sector was the biggest winner, with the banks showing the sharpest rises.

This could be seen with the financial index up 7.21% to 27 478 for the day, and banking group FirstRand closing out at R44.75 – a 12.32% rise.

There was a similar story at Nedbank, which closed up 9.77% at R118. Standard Bank was up 7.34% to R120 and insurance group Old Mutual was up 8.65%, closing out at R11.68.

There were some big losses on the day, namely anything to do with gold mining.

The gold price dropped 4.43% to $1 864.84, dragging down the gold mining index by a massive 14.82% to 4 355.

The blow the sector took can be seen in Harmony Gold dropping 16.33% to R77.55, Goldfield falling 15.51% to R168.65, and DRDGold collapsing 15.07% to R17.75.

Not even AngloGold Ashanti was safe, closing the day down 13.85% at R374.12.

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