The JSE closed firmer on Tuesday following a mixed session in which the local bourse struggled for direction.

With global market sentiment still being driven by the developments and comments around the Sino-US trade war, investors are increasingly becoming skeptical to take big bets on stocks.

However, in today’s session Asian counters tracked mostly higher following the firmer closes in US markets trading overnight.

The Shanghai Composite Index surged 1.36% while the Japanese Nikkei gained 0.96%. The Hang Seng closed marginally softer as it dropped 0.06%.

Although modest, stocks in Europe advanced on the day including the FTSE 100 which resumed trading following a holiday on Monday.

Locally the rand continues to get its direction from external factors such as US dollar strength and the sentiment around emerging market currencies which have been trading relatively weaker against the greenback.

The rand retreated to a session low of R15.35/$ earlier, before it rebounded to be recorded trading 0.31% weaker at R15.32/$ at 17:00.

Trade hope helps Asian markets bounce back from sell-off

Financials traded mostly softer on the day with losses being recorded for Nedbank [JSE:NED] which lost 2.11% to close at R216.75, ABSA Group which fell 2.14% to close at R147.77, and Old Mutual [JSE:OML] which closed 2.76% lower at R17.60.

Hospitality group Tsogo Sun Hotels [JSE:TGO] lost 4.29% as it closed at R4.02, while its industry peer Sun International [JSE:SUI] dropped 3.11% to close at R39.30.

Multichoice Group had a tough session as it lost 6.16% to end the day at R128.00, while Brait [JSE:BAT] closed at R14.11 after dropping 5.93%.

Other significant losers on the day included Shoprite [JSE:SHP] which lost another 3.24% to close at R110.43, Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] which fell 2.39% to close at R374.00, and Telkom [JSE:TKG] which dropped 2.37% to close at R77.82.

General miners led the gains on the JSE which saw stocks such as Anglo American PLC [JSE:AGL] gain 1.71% to close at R317.34, while its sector peer BHP Group managed to gain 0.39% to close at R314.78.

Northam Platinum [JSE:NHM] had another session of gains as it advanced 4.29% to close at R67.27, while Royal Bafokeng Platinum [JSE:RBP] climbed 2.93% to close at R33.00.

Listed property stocks with a focus in the United Kingdom advanced on the day.

Intu Properties [JSE:ITU] was one of the day’s biggest gainers after it rallied 10.68% to close at R7.05, Capital and Counties [JSE:CCO] gained 3.83% to close at R38.00, and Hammerson PLC [JSE:HMN] closed at R43.29 after advancing 3.42%. Hong Kong stocks end slightly down

The JSE All-Share index eventually closed 0.09% firmer while the JSE Top-40 index gained 0.18%. The Financials index came under pressure as it closed 0.61% weaker.

The Resources and Industrials indices managed to add 0.65% and 0.25% respectively.

At 17:00, Gold was 0.71% firmer at $1538.25/Oz, Palladium was up 0.28% at $1483.10/Oz, and Platinum had risen 0.72% to trade at $862.90/Oz.

With fears around the trade war bubbling down in today’s session, brent crude managed to find some momentum as it was recorded trading 0.96% firmer at $58.68/barrel just after the JSE close.