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South Africa: Business Highlights of the Week – From the JSE’s Surprising High to MTN’s Low

The JSE hit an all-time high on the third trading day of the new year. Sounds great, until you consider that it has just matched the levels it last traded at in January 2018. So, if you’re invested in the broader market, your investment has gone nowhere over the past three years – although, granted, you will have earned dividends.

It’s difficult to fathom why other global indices, including the US’s much-watched Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq, are hitting record highs as second waves of the coronavirus pandemic sweep across the globe. Much less so our own market. While the expectation of more economic stimulus packages under a Democrat-controlled government in the US and the rollout of Covid vaccination programmes in a number of countries are offering investors a glimmer of hope, they’re all missing here.

However, all the factors driving our market higher are exogenous. Like last year, however, resource stocks and a handful of other shares are propping up the JSE, masking the devastating impact Covid-19 and an already struggling economy had on sectors, including listed property, financials and so-called SA Inc shares.

Gold jumped 25% over the course of 2020, while platinum rose 11% and palladium…