SA violence in global spotlight; 300 arrests; Boris all in on Brexit; US stocks soar; Capitec, Discovery, Hyprop

By Jackie Cameron

  • The World Economic Forum on Africa was supposed to be President Cyril Ramaphosa’s chance to prove South Africa’s claim to being the continent’s top investment destination. But it has all gone horribly wrong, says Bloomberg. The United Nations has condemned a wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa in which at least 10 people have died and scores of businesses have been ruined and looted. “There isn’t anything that justifies the level of violence against another person for trying to make a livelihood and, in particular, in the African context, a guest in your home should not be harmed,” Amina Jane Mohammed, the UN deputy secretary-general, said in an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town. South African Police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said Thursday that there had been a “dramatic decline in public violence and looting” in Johannesburg and Pretoria with 289 people arrested since Sunday, reports Bloomberg. The violence erupted last week after a South African taxi driver was allegedly shot dead by a suspected Nigerian drug dealer in the capital, Pretoria, and saw scores of foreign-owned shops being looted and torched, the news agency continues. High poverty levels on the continent are one of the factors driving the attacks and must be addressed, she said. Almost 800 million people live below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day, most of whom are in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, UN data shows. The United Nations has condemned a wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa in which at least 10 people died. It blames poverty for the outbreak of violence. The Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA) strongly condemns the recent incidents of violence against women and attacks on non-South Africans.
  • Boris Johnson’s six-week-old premiership was thrown into yet more disarray after his brother quit the government in protest at his Brexit strategy. His brother, Minister Jo Johnson resigned, citing tension between “family loyalty and the “national interest”. And, Boris Johnson said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than ask the European Union to delay Brexit again.
  • US stocks surged and Treasuries tumbled after a raft of data bolstered confidence in the American economy and trade tensions eased, reports Bloomberg. The S&P 500’s fifth gain in six sessions brought it within 2% of an all-time high. Tech shares led the gain after China and the U.S. agreed to trade talks early next month.
  • On the JSE, the big mover of the day was property company MAS, which jumped 20% in value on the news of an acquisition. Of the more widely followed stocks, banking company Capitec’s share jumped by nearly 5% on a trading update indicating that it expects headline earnings per share will increase of between 18% and 21%. The share price of medical scheme provider Discovery gained about 4.5% on Thursday. Leading stocks down was property company Hyprop, which plunged 10% following the release of its consolidated results for the year ended 30 June. Hyprop’s dividend is only a little lower – 1.5% – than the one it declared last year, but analysts are reportedly concerned that Hyprop has written off about R1bn in assets in sub-Saharan Africa. Assore was down about 6%. Analysts say the stock was probably due for some consolidation after a good run.