The JSE closed in a sea of red on Monday, as investors grappled with the sinking oil price and fears around the coronavirus and its impact on global growth, as trade and travel restrictions continue to tighten.
The JSE All Share Index sank 6.23% to 48 820 points. Commodities were not spared, with many of the resource stocks being exposed to oil.
Oil plunged over 30% overnight on Sunday, after Saudi Arabia made the biggest cut in its prices in the past 20 years.
Market watchers describe it as the worst fall since the Gulf War in 1991.
JSE resource stocks that took the biggest hits on Monday were:
- Sasol – down 56%
- Impala Platinum – down 24.77%
- Glencore – down 11.38%.
The financials sector was not spared either, with RMB Holdings falling as much as 5.53%.
MTN Group is down 15.1%.
Wayne McCurrie, senior portfolio manager at FNB Wealth and Investment, says the negative performance in the markets on Monday “is mainly on the back of the oil price dropping”.
“This fall in the oil price is very bad for a lot of resource shares because they have exposure to oil.”
McCurrie says the market tends to overreact, and the result of the panic is what was evident on Monday.
“We know the market overreacts, because more people have died this year because of the [common] flu, but because the coronavirus is a slightly more dangerous flu and brings uncertainty, people are scared.”
Gold, which is considered a safe-haven asset in times of political and economic uncertainty, slipped 1.77% to 3 320 points.
“There are no rules in investment,” says McCurrie. “Gold is usually seen as a safe haven but it can also fall in times of uncertainty.”
The rand closed at R15.93 to the dollar from its weakest intraday value of R16.07.