Consensus misses on manufacturing data out of the US and the UK witnessed global markets start the week on the back foot amid concerns around the fragility of the current economic recovery.
The news adds to the fears catalyzed by the recently received manufacturing data out of China which indicated minor industry contraction for the first time in six months.
Global sentiment improved in the latter part of the week, after the European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of England (BoE) left benchmark interest rates unchanged. ECB President Mario Draghi stated that the central bank was prepared to take further action in an attempt to counteract low inflation in the Eurozone.
Employment data out of the US on Friday witnessed 113 000 non-farm jobs being added to the payroll last month, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.6%. Although a miss on consensus estimates, markets currently appear committed to the rebound from recent weakness.
Harmony Gold heads the worst performers list after a fire at its Doornkop mine and subsequent rock fall claimed the lives of at least eight people. A relatively flat dollar denominated gold price and short-term strength in the rand has haltered the recent gains in local gold mining shares.
ArcelorMittal witnessed a favourable anticipation and response to its full year results as it rose in excess of 15% over the course of the week. 2013 was a difficult year for the company after a fire at its Vanderbijl Park operations hampered production in the first quarter. ArcelorMittal also realised a 1.8 billion rand impairment on its Thabazimbi mining asset, as well as struggled to finalise a pricing agreement with Kumba Iron Ore. Investors are optimistic that these are setbacks of the past and are hopeful that the largest steel producer in Africa can now continue to grow earnings moving forward.
The Investec share price has reacted positively to news that it may be selling their Kensington mortgage business. The UK-based mortgage business was infamously bought in 2007 shortly before the global economic crisis was realised. Investors have welcomed the news as it has been and underperforming asset for Investec.
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