US markets closed mostly lower yesterday with the Dow Jones clocking an eighth successive decline. UK markets weakened on a decline in the mining sector and Asian markets are bucking the trend this morning by trading firmer. The spill-over from Trump’s failed attempt to push through the healthcare bill looks to have faded and markets are likely to focus more on comments from several Fed officials today.
South African News
South Africa’s Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, looks on the brink of being dismissed by President Zuma after the Presidency called Gordhan back from an international roadshow. The market reaction was negative towards banks and the Rand declined around 6.00% since the story broke yesterday morning. This has boosted the large caps on the index that generate the bulk of their earnings in foreign markets. Early in yesterday’s session, the market tracked overnight losses, but the sudden weakening of the Rand helped a recovery to close slightly in the red.
Sun International Limited
As of late, the sun has gone down on Sun International [SUI]. The share price took a hammering 2 weeks ago, after releasing an updated trading statement confirming HEPS will likely be down be between 35-45%. Yesterday the company released its year end 2016 financial statements and although HEPS came in at 35% (the top of the range), the share price only rallied 0.4%. Operational results in SA were disappointing – only Sun City secured higher revenues. Latin American operations performed better than SA, but earnings still to materialise. Debt levels are still high but within covenants. No more acquisitions on the cards. The good news is that local licence tendering process has been postposed and therefore current licences remain until 31 Dec 2018.
The Day Ahead
Global news can be largely ignored today, because the focus will be Pravin Gordhan and whether he is being replaced as finance minister. The Rand has already reacted in anticipation of the worst and it sets up what could be an extremely volatile day for local markets.
Key Results Out Today
US Trade balance
US Consumer confidence
Quote of the day
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”