JSE drifts lower as banks weigh

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Banks dragged the JSE back from its intraday record high at noon‚ while some mining shares remained well supported after the release of positive China trade data.

At 12.43pm‚ the all share index was down 0.19% to 40‚254.34 point‚ with the top 40 index slipping 0.15% to 35‚754.84 and banks losing 0.90%.

China's trade surplus increased sharply in December‚ rising to $31.6 billion from a $19.6 billion surplus in November‚ as exports surprised on the upside‚ Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The latest data added to optimism that the world’s second largest economy was picking up pace after showing signs of slowdown in recent months.

The main focus of the day will be on monetary policy this afternoon‚ said RMB analysts in a note: “Neither the BoE (Bank of England ) nor the ECB (European Central Bank) is expected to change rates or QE targets but the markets will look for hints on when or if the latter will cut again.”

Leading European shares were marginally firmer at noon‚ with London’s FTSE 100 up 0.13%.

On the JSE Anglo American (AGL) added 1.34% to R284.39‚ Lonmin (LON) rallied 3.17% to R42.25‚ Aquarius Platinum (AQP) gained 3.27% to R9.17 and Coal of Africa (CZA) continued its good recent run‚ up 13.06% to R3.29. The company’s plans to develop metallurgical coal mines in Limpopo came closer to realisation on Wednesday after Chinese authorities granted regulatory approval for a $100m investment by Beijing Haohua Energy Resources.

Standard Bank (SBK) lost 1.26% to R117.20. - I-Net Bridge

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