JSE on tenterhooks for Tuesday’s episode of ‘state capture’ soapie

The rand was relatively stable at about R12.75/$ on Tuesday morning as traders anxiously awaited the next episode of SA’s “state capture” soapy.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan

The rand weakened to R12.84/$ during the night‚ taking its loss from Monday morning’s R12.32/$ to 4% in the wake of President Jacob Zuma ordering Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas to return from London immediately.

Zuma said he ordered them to cancel their roadshow to foreign investors because it was unauthorised — but the Treasury said it had written permission from the presidency for the trip and Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor was officially made acting finance minister while Gordhan was out of the country.

In a plot twist‚ Zuma announced he would join his friends‚ the Gupta brothers‚ in a court case against Gordhan scheduled to be heard on Tuesday.

Bank shares tend to track the rand-dollar exchange rate‚ resulting in FirstRand falling 3.55% to R50.59‚ Barclays Africa Group 3.19% to R153.44‚ Standard Bank 3.14% to R154 and Nedbank 2.34% to R256.70.

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Capitec‚ which is scheduled to release results on Tuesday‚ fell 1.03% to R796.

Capitec said on March 6 that it expected to report on Tuesday that its headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the year to end-February grew between 16% and 19%.

On Friday‚ Capitec announced it was expanding outside of SA by buying 40% of Cyprus-based Creamfinance for à21m.

Capitec said reasons for the deal included accessing Creamfinance’s sophisticated technology and advanced credit scoring methods.

Markets trading ahead of the JSE’s opening on Tuesday generally rebounded from Monday’s slump‚ which had been blamed on political turmoil in the US in the wake of President Donald Trump’s “healthcare flop” on Friday.

Both Tokyo’s Topix and Nikkei 225 indices were up more than 1%‚ and Sydney’s S& P/ASX 200 was 1.23% higher.

The JSE may follow the global rebound. But if rumours that Zuma is about to appoint disgraced former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe as finance minister are true‚ we may see a replay of December 2015’s Nenegate when the JSE’s banking index plunged 13.5%. – Tiso Black Star Group/Robert Laing