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Data showing the best annual US growth in nearly four decades didn't hurt either. Overnight the euro fell almost 0.9% to a 20-month low of $1.1131, the yen fell 0.6% and the Australian and New Zealand dollars dropped more than 1%.7h ago"We see a lot of potential in this space and are investing accordingly," said Cook, in response to a question about its plans for the metaverse, a broad term that generally refers to shared virtual world environments that people can access via the internet.Read more: Fin24 »
Koos Sibiya ready to live his dream at the age of 40Koos Sibiya has grown into his Great Last Warrior moniker over the years and at 40 years old he still harbours “big dreams” — in short, he has no intention of losing to Botswana prospect Steven Bagwasi in Johannesburg on Thursday night.
Koos Sibiya ready to live his dream at the age of 40Koos Sibiya has grown into his Great Last Warrior moniker over the years and at 40 years old he still harbours “big dreams” — in short, he has no intention of losing to Botswana prospect Steven Bagwasi in Johannesburg on Thursday night. How did it go?
MONEY LIVE | Brent oil price tops $90 for first time since 2014 | Fin24MONEY LIVE | Brent oil price tops $90 for first time since 2014.
MONEY LIVE | Dollar set for sparkling week as hike expectations surge | Fin24MONEY LIVE | Dollar set for sparkling week as hike expectations surge.
MONEY LIVE | Pepkor sees flat turnover, cellphone sales take a knock | Fin24MONEY LIVE | Pepkor sees flat turnover, cellphone sales take a knock -
With Fed set to hike US rates, 'ultra-cheap money' era nears end | Fin24Consumers, companies and financial markets are bound to see borrowing costs rise as the Federal Reserve gets ready to hike rates after two years of loose policy meant to support the US economy during the pandemic. | Fin24
7h ago Dollar set for sparkling week as hike expectations surge The dollar was headed for its best week in seven months on Friday after breaking through key levels against the euro as traders priced in a year of aggressive US interest rate hikes. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell unleashed bets on five or more hikes this year after he left the door open on Wednesday to raising rates faster than in previous cycles. The rand was trading at R15.43/$ on Friday morning, after starting the week around R15.10. Data showing the best annual US growth in nearly four decades didn't hurt either. Overnight the euro fell almost 0.9% to a 20-month low of $1.1131, the yen fell 0.6% and the Australian and New Zealand dollars dropped more than 1%. For the week so far, the dollar has gained 1.7% on the euro, 2% or more on the Antipodeans and the US dollar index has shot above 97 for the first time since July 2020. It last stood at 97.250."So much for all those analysts rushing to conclude that the dollar rally was done, following the early-year divergence between (rising) US interest rates and the (falling) dollar," said National Australia Bank's head of FX strategy, Ray Attrill. - Reuters 7h ago Apple teases metaverse plans, stock jumps Apple teased its metaverse ambitions on Thursday as CEO Tim Cook talked expansion of the company's augmented reality apps, prompting strong investor response. The company has 14 000 AR apps on its App Store, and Cook suggested this number will rise with further investment. "We see a lot of potential in this space and are investing accordingly," said Cook, in response to a question about its plans for the metaverse, a broad term that generally refers to shared virtual world environments that people can access via the internet. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg have reported Apple plans to introduce an AR headset by this or next year with glasses to follow later. 27 January 19:50 Stocks rebound as US economy posts decades-high growth US and European stock markets rose on Thursday as investors put aside rate hike fears and focused on data showing the US economy grew at its fastest pace in decades last year. European equity markets had mostly retreated in the morning session following sharp losses in Asia after US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell signalled Wednesday a likely rate increase in March to tame inflation. But the mood changed after the US Commerce Department released Thursday data showing that the economy grew by 5.7 percent in 2021, its fastest rate since 1984. Solid corporate earnings reports also helped this week, with several leading companies scoring higher profits despite ongoing pressures connected to Covid-19. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones index was up 1.4 percent in late morning trading. In Europe, London overturned earlier losses to close 1.1 percent higher. Paris and Frankfurt likewise overcame early sluggishness to post modest gains by the close. Oil prices lost momentum mid-session after Brent North Sea crude had closed in on $91 per barrel. Despite major markets moving back into the green, AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould sounded a note of caution regarding Powell's assessment."It's what he didn't say that troubled investors," Mould said. "The key concerns are how aggressive the Fed will be with raising rates - will they go up at every meeting this year, and will they go up by more than 0.25 percentage points each time?" "Powell effectively admitted the Fed has been behind the curve and now must get its act together to get inflation to more acceptable levels. If that means upsetting financial markets, then so be it," said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst with ThinkMarkets.Fed officials still believe the price rises will be brought under control as economies reopen and supply chain problems abate, but the need to prevent them from running away is forcing them into an aggressive pivot. "The tech-heavy Nasdaq had been hit hard by fears of a more hawkish Fed in the lead-up to the US central bank's rate decision, making this a case of 'sell the rumour, buy the fact'," said Fiona Cincotta, senior financial markets analyst at City Index, while noting"stellar" US growth data. Elsewhere, oil prices lost early momentum after benchmark European contract Brent closed in on $91 a barrel.It fell back under $90, having risen on Wednesday above that level for the first time in seven years owing to rising Ukraine-Russia tensions and falling US crude stockpiles. Eyes are now on the upcoming meeting of OPEC and other key producers, where they will discuss plans to continue to increase output. "Energy traders are anticipating higher energy prices on potential geopolitical risks and as OPEC+ will stick to their plan to deliver another modest increase to production at next week's meeting," said OANDA's Edward Moya. - 27 January 19:47 Shoprite's sales increased by 10% despite riot fall-out Retailer Shoprite reported solid sales for the past six months, with growth of 10% to R91 billion. Like many retailers across South Africa, the group was impacted by July 2021 looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng during the six-month period ended 2 January 2022, which hit 231 of its stores. Despite the impact of the riots, Shoprite opened 57 new stores taking its total number of stores to 2 003, while it closed one OK store. In the local market, the retailer’s sales grew by 11.3%. In addition to South Africa, Shoprite has stores in Angola, Mozambique and Zambia. Sales in these countries increased by 8.4%. It did not open new stores in those markets, closing five instead, due to the disposal of its operations in Uganda. Sales at its furniture segments (House & Home and OK Furniture) declined by 6.5%. The July unrest contributed to the decline in sales. 27 January 11:47 Dollar sails high as markets brace for larger, faster rate hikes The dollar climbed to multi-week highs against other major currencies on Thursday, bolstered by the prospects for faster and larger interest rate hikes in the months ahead. The rand was trading at R15.29/$ on Thursday morning, from R15.10 at the start the week. As London trade got under way, the dollar index held at its highest levels since mid-December, while the euro languished at two-month lows of $1.11930. The greenback also hit its highest levels in more than a year against the New Zealand dollar and a seven-week peak against Australia's currency. It rose broadly against emerging market currencies as money markets moved swiftly to all but price in as many as five Federal Reserve rate rises this year. The Fed concluded a two-day meeting on Wednesday and Fed chief Jerome Powell said the central bank was in a mind to begin hiking in March to tame inflation. He stressed that no decisions had been taken, but answering a question about whether the central bank would consider a 50-basis point hike, he replied without ruling it out. He said instead that the economy seemed stronger than in the most recent hiking cycle and inflation, much hotter with room to raise rates without"threatening" the labour market.US gross domestic product figures later on Thursday are expected to show annual growth at its strongest since 1984. "While the market had already been priced for hikes, a lot of people were assuming that the Fed might be more sensitive to the equity market, which it wasn't," said Jane Foley, head currency strategist at Rabobank. "Also the Fed's mention the balance sheet has focused markets' mind on the withdrawal of stimulus."Foley added that a shake-out of overly long dollar positions earlier in the month had left the greenback in a position to react to the latest Fed signalling. - REUTERS 27 January 11:40 Lewis’ sales jump despite ongoing challenges Furniture retailer Lewis has seen sales growth of 12.7% in the nine months to end-December, despite pressure on consumer spending and civil unrest. Credit sales (+16%) outpaced cash sales (+9.4%), and comparable-store sales increased by 10.3%. “The sales growth was achieved despite the ongoing pressure on consumer spending and the further tightening of the domestic economy in recent months, while the second and third quarters of the group’s financial year were impacted by the civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal,” Lewis said on Thursday. As for the quarter ending in December 2021, the retailer said its sales growth of 3.6% was bolstered by Black Friday trading. The company's share price rose by 1% to R47.50 on Thursday morning. - PENELOPE MASHEGO 27 January 11:18 Pepkor sees flat turnover, cellphone sales take a knock Discount retail chain owner Pepkor saw a slight revenue increase for the quarter ended 31 December 2021. Excluding the impact of the sale of its fashion apparel brand John Craig, its revenue increased by 1.3% to R22.8 billion. “Growth in revenue was impacted by the strong base in the comparable quarter in the previous financial year and 161 looted stores that had not yet reopened at the start of the quarter following the civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng during July 2021,” said Pepkor, which owns the Pep and Ackermans chains. Some 450 out of its 549 looted stores have been reopened. Revenue for clothing and general merchandise grew by 2%, to R151 billion. But there was a decline in cellular sales, which hit sales at PEP and Ackermans. Both stores opened 79 new outlets in the quarter. Revenue for Pepkor’s furniture and appliances segment increased by 9.7%, boosted by strong Black Friday and Christmas sales at its JD Group business. While its personal loans business Capfin saw an increase in its revenue and its credit book grew to R2 billion from R1.9 billion, its point-of-sale technology group FLASH saw a decline. Pepkor's debt fell from R5.6 billion to R4.1 billion. “The group is satisfied with the trading performance during the first four months of the financial year and especially pleased with the growth rates achieved over the two-year period since the onset of COVID-19,” said Pepkor. Its share price was down 0.6% to R22.62 on Thursday morning. - PENELOPE MASHEGO 27 January 10:13 Anglo's fourth quarter production benefits from Amplats, Kumba and De Beers Anglo American’s production in the three months ended in December last year was stable as the group operated at 95% of its normal capacity due to ongoing Covid-19 related effects on its operating environment. The group said production benefited from, amongst other things, a 15% jump in rough diamond production at De Beers, and improved mining performance at its Amandelbult operation in Limpopo which helped more than double refined production Platinum Group Metals (PGM) production in the quarter. Overall, Anglo American Platinum’s PGMs production increased by 3% in the fourth quarter, and 13% for the year, as compared to 2020. Kumba Iron Ore, in its quarterly production report said production grew by 9% in the quarter, reflecting the impact of Covid-19 in 2020 and improved plant reliability in 2021. Moving into 2022, Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani said the group was pleased with the progress at its flagship Quellaveco copper mine in Peru. "We are on track and within budget, we mined our first ore in October 2021, and we are expecting our first production of copper concentrate in the middle of this year," he said. -Lisa Steyn 27 January 07:49 Markets highlight pain as Fed hikes near Weeks of fretting over the Federal Reserve’s plan to combat inflation with higher interest rates is coming to fruition as Asian stock markets tumble into bear markets and technical corrections. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 2.6% Thursday, pushing it down more than 17% from its recent high, after Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled a March lift-off for interest rates. South Korea’s tech-heavy Kospi extended its drop since July to 20%, on course to enter a bear market, as investors dumped growth stocks amid rising yields. China’s CSI 300 Index also edged closer to bear territory. “Investors appear to have become increasingly conscious of the risks that the Fed may end up cooling any economic growth with too much monetary tightening,” said Tomo Kinoshita, a global market strategist at Invesco Asset Management in Tokyo. The intensifying selloff has put Asia’s stock benchmark on track for its worst monthly loss since March 2020. That’s after it underpeformed the MSCI AC World Index by 20 percentage points last year. Australia’s key gauge entered a technical correction Thursday as it slumped 10% from its recent high, following similar occurrences for benchmarks in Japan and New Zealand earlier this week. “The expected interest-rate hike by the Fed may potentially delay the emerging Asia economic recovery, that is one of the major risks,” said Jessica Tea, an investment specialist at BNP Paribas Asset Management. “The Fed tightening is also putting pressure on some central banks in Asia to follow through, and this could have some impact on the equity market.” Speaking after the Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Powell said the central bank was ready to raise interest rates in March and didn’t rule out moving at every meeting to tackle inflation. U.S. equity futures tumbled in Asian trading, erasing gains seen earlier, following a volatile New York cash session.‘ Headache for Growth ’Technology names from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to Sony Group Corp. were the biggest drags on the MSCI Asia gauge Thursday as rising bond yields continue to hammer growth stocks, whose values are based on future prospects. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Tech Index plunged as much as 4.7%. “Powell not ruling out raising rates at every FOMC meeting certainly seemed to have surprised the street, with seven more meetings to go for the rest of the year,” said Takeo Kamai, head of execution services at CLSA Securities Japan. “The moves in Treasury yields will likely continue to be a headache for growth stocks.” Even as it approached the grim bear-market milestone, China’s benchmark CSI 300 Index fared better than the regional benchmark as it was down 1.3% on the day. Global brokerages have turned increasingly bullish on the nation’s equities as the People’s Bank of China eases policy, diverging from the Fed. Southeast Asian markets, which typically have low exposure to the tech sector, also fared better on Thursday, with the MSCI Asean Index down less than 1%. “Powell’s indication that rate hikes and QT might be faster than the market expects certainly raised concerns in Asian equities,” John Vail, chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management, wrote in a note. “Globally, stocks with very high valuations will need to prove that their outlooks are even better than expected in order to avoid even further de-rating.” Bloomberg 26 January 19:05 Hidden Valley drags down Harmony’s production outlook Interim production at Harmony Gold’s Hidden Valley mine has dropped 26%, and continued issues at the Papua New Guinea operation has dragged down annual production guidance for the entire group. In an update ahead of the release of the gold miner’s half-year results next month, Harmony said production of just 60 150 ounces at the mine resulted from “geotechnical issues” which prevented the effective mining of stage 6 of the open pit, resulting in more lower grade stockpiles being processed. Covid-19 related restrictions also had an impact on production. Now, the recent damage of a 6km overland conveyor belt is anticipated to have a significant impact on full year production at the operations, causing Harmony to adjust the group’s full year production guidance down 4% from between 1.54 to 1.63 million ounces to between 1.48 and 1.56 million ounces. Harmony’s South African production, meanwhile, remained steady in the second half of last year, while operational costs were in line with guidance, the gold miner said on Wednesday. The group’s domestic mines produced 718 000 ounces of gold in the second half of last year, slightly more than the 708 000 ounces in the first half of last year. 26 January 18:33 Brent oil price tops $90 for first time since 2014 Brent oil on Wednesday surpassed $90 per barrel to strike the highest level for more than seven years, rattled by geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and supply concerns in the Middle East. European benchmark Brent North Sea crude rallied as high as $90.02 in late afternoon London trade, attaining a level last seen in October 2014. - AFP 26 January 14:24 Gold at two-month high ahead of Fed policy decision Gold held near the highest level in more than two months as investors waited for the outcome of a Federal Reserve meeting that could offer more clues on the outlook for monetary policy tightening. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and his fellow policy makers are expected to signal their first interest-rate hike since 2018, setting the stage for a March move to cool red-hot inflation. The Federal Open Market Committee is all but certain to hold its benchmark rate near zero after the two-day meeting that ends Wednesday, while sticking to a plan to end its bond-buying program in March. Bullion has risen more than 4% since the end of November amid headwinds in equity markets as investors hone in on the possibility of an error by the Fed. The risk of a Russian invasion of Ukraine and a cut in the International Monetary Fund’s world economic growth forecast for this year are also aiding the haven asset. “Gold is simply becoming a Fed policy mistake hedge,” Nicky Shiels, head of metals strategy at MKS PAMP SA, wrote in a note. “An accelerated Fed tapering will cause financial conditions to tighten further and gold to outperform equities, to a point. ”Meanwhile there has been some pick up in gold demand from investors. Exchange-traded funds have added more than 5 tons of bullion so far this week, building on the 33 tons taken in the week before. Spot gold declined 0.1% to $1,847.10 an ounce as of 10:12 a.m. in London, after rising to the highest intraday level since Nov. 19 on Tuesday. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was steady. Silver and platinum gained, while palladium rose to the highest since September. - BLOOMBERG 26 January 10:13 Microsoft sees strong earnings on cloud computing Microsoft beat market expectations Tuesday with strong quarterly performance in cloud computing and software, still benefitting from the pandemic's online shifting of work, play, shopping and learning. The US tech colossus, which announced last week a blockbuster deal to buy gaming giant Activision Blizzard, said profit jumped to $18.8 billion in the final three months of last year."Digital technology is the most malleable resource at the world's disposal to overcome constraints and reimagine everyday work and life," CEO Satya Nadella said, in announcing revenue of $51.7 billion. Microsoft investments include pouring money into the booming video game market and by extension the metaverse, the virtual reality vision for the internet's future.On an earnings call, Nadella pointed to the tens of millions of people playing games such as Forza, Halo and Minecraft, many investing in"avatar" proxies for online worlds, saying that the metaverse is a natural extension. 26 January 07:05 Asian markets rally, Wall Street slides as Fed's big day arrives Asian markets enjoyed some respite Wednesday from the hefty selling at the start of the week, with focus on the end of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting later in the day, when traders hope it will provide much-needed guidance on its plans for hiking interest rates. After weeks of uncertainty, the US central bank will finally deliver its views on the state of the world's top economy and how officials plan to tackle inflation that is now at a four-decade high without knocking its recovery off course. Minutes from its December gathering pointed to a more hawkish tilt, with plans to speed up the taper of its vast bond-buying programme, the selling of the assets it already has and three or four rate increases before the end of the year. While boss Jerome Powell pledged any tightening would be carefully calibrated, the prospect of higher borrowing costs has rattled markets across the world with most key indexes deep in the red from the start of the year, with Wall Street particularly hard hit. His comments after the meeting will be pored over for signs of the Fed's plans, which most commentators believe include a first hike in March. Analysts were leaning positive ahead of the meeting.Frances Stacy, at Optimal Capital, told Bloomberg Television that Powell would try to take a less hawkish tone, saying policy would be guided by data while supply chains were improving and inflation showed signs of peaking. "I think what that's going to do is potentially reassure markets that the Fed put is ready, willing and able," she said, referring to the bank's past in backstopping markets."That could cause some serious enthusiasm and a short squeeze." And Standard Chartered Bank's Steven Englander concurred, adding that"a moderately hawkish Powell would be dovish in market terms".Meanwhile, markets strategist Louis Navellier saw three rate hikes this year and that after the recent bout of selling across markets, buying opportunities were emerging. "I'm very comfortable that we are going to have a bottom here soon. Remember, the market is a manic crowd," he said in a note. After a second day of high volatility in New York, Asia enjoyed a little more calm in the morning.Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Seoul, Wellington, Taipei and Jakarta all rose, though Tokyo and Manila edged down. However, while there remains some optimism among analysts about the outlook, the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday lowered its growth outlook for the global economy saying it has started the year"in a weaker position than previously expected".It said Omicron threatened to set back the recovery as countries impose containment measures, while other issues remained, including inflation and geopolitical tensions. Included in those tensions is the standoff on the Ukraine-Russia border, with Moscow building up troop numbers and the West led by the United States warning the risk of an invasion"remains imminent". US President Joe Biden said such a move would prompt"enormous consequences" and even"change the world", adding that he would consider imposing direct sanctions on Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on top of a raft of measures being drawn up. AFP 25 January 18:10 How we ended today. Despite serious selling of PRX/NPN and the other big defensive JSE counters (ANH, BTI & CFR) closing red-to-anaemic, ALSI closed +0.21%. Taking it! There's commotion across the pond again as US equities resume broad selloffs, yesterday's euphoria evanescent.