Tag: investment information

Diamond polishers look to lockdown lovers to add shine
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Diamond polishers look to lockdown lovers to add shine

South Africa’s diamond industry, famed for sales the world over and supplying gems for the British crown jewels, is looking closer to home to revive its fortunes following the coronavirus slump. Even before the new virus triggered the Covid-19 pandemic, diamond prices and demand were weak. Global economic weakness has exaggerated that and Anglo American’s De Beers unit last week reported a plunge in earnings. Some of the many small players who polish the rough diamonds that De Beers and other miners unearth say they have been pleasantly surprised by the extent of lockdown jewellery-buying as enforced proximity kindled romance and feel-good spending. South African cutting and polishing firm Nungu Diamonds said its custom-made jewellery sales have grown 60% since South Africa imposed ...
Big pharma shouldn’t be too greedy
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Big pharma shouldn’t be too greedy

Intellectual property is a convenient fiction. It is a right enforced by state power and international agreements, one that’s even more fragile than other forms of property rights since it’s not tangible. We choose to believe this fiction because we also believe that intellectual property adds to general welfare. It permits innovation and growth, and supports writers, artists, inventors — and pharmaceutical companies. But crises upend beliefs and we are in a crisis at the moment. We should all hope the tradition of treating intellectual property as a real thing survives the pandemic. That hope must be especially keen among the companies most at risk if the myth breaks down: the pharma industry. Nothing is more likely to test this consensus than hints of profiteering off the war again...
Berkshire bought back record $5bn of stock last quarter
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Berkshire bought back record $5bn of stock last quarter

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. spent a record $5 billion buying back Berkshire’s own stock in the second quarter. Berkshire’s Class A shares, which fell in line with the S&P 500 in the first three months of the year as the pandemic spread in the U.S., fell another 1.7% last quarter while the broader index rallied 20%. Buffett said in May that repurchases weren’t more compelling, but the buybacks in the quarter suggest his thinking shifted. Key insights Even with buybacks that more than doubled the previous quarterly record, Berkshire’s cash pile kept growing and hit $146.6 billion. Buffett has struggled to find ways to deploy large chunks of funds into higher-returning assets. Berkshire ended up taking a more cautious approach to the broader stock market in th...
Vaccine confronts humanity with next moral test
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Vaccine confronts humanity with next moral test

The coronavirus pandemic has stress-tested the world. Beyond challenging human fortitude, national health services and international rivalries, it has forced a series of moral choices. Many have provoked impassioned disagreement — over whether governments can force businesses and schools to close, over sacrifices for the sake of the elderly and, most bitterly and surprisingly, over whether being asked to wear a simple face mask infringes individual liberty. The toughest moral test lies ahead. The biomedical industry and research facilities around the world are progressing toward creating a vaccine that would offer the best chance to end the pandemic and return life to normal. But the moral dilemmas provoked by the development and distribution of a vaccine will...
SA stocks plunge as Tencent fall hits Naspers and Prosus
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SA stocks plunge as Tencent fall hits Naspers and Prosus

South Africa’s main stock index halts a four-day rally, falls 1.3% by 9:15am in Johannesburg, as index heavyweight Naspers drops 4.4% after US President Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders prohibiting US residents from doing business with the Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat apps beginning 45 days from now, citing the national security risk of leaving Americans’ personal data exposed.Naspers holds a 31% stake in WeChat’s owner, Tencent Holdings, which plunged as much as 10% in Hong Kong. Naspers subsidiary Prosus, which holds the company’s stake in Tencent, retreated 5.4%. “This directly impacts Naspers and Prosus via Tencent and similarly will dampen sentiment on tech,” says Casparus Treurnicht, a fund manager at Gryphon Asset Management in Cape Town. As Naspers and Prosus m...
JSE profits increase, despite volatile market
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JSE profits increase, despite volatile market

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) reported a positive six months for the first half of its financial year – despite the macro-economic challenges caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic. The owner and operator of Africa’s biggest and most liquid market for shares, bonds and derivatives, reported a 22% increase in net profit after tax to R485 million, while total revenue increased 22% to R1.32 billion. JSE group CEO Leila Fourie said she’s pleased with the results, which were achieved amid a turbulent and volatile market, with record trading volumes amplified by the sovereign credit rating downgrade, South Africa’s exit from the World Government Bond Index, and rand volatility. The JSE recognises the substantial impact of the pandemic on its clients. “We feel that it shows that we...
Covid-19 cases slow in hotspot provinces, minister says
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Covid-19 cases slow in hotspot provinces, minister says

Three South African provinces considered coronavirus hotspots have seen new infections slow in recent weeks, though it is too early to say whether the country’s peak has passed, the health minister said on Wednesday. South Africa has the world’s fifth highest number of infections, with cases passing 500,000 over the weekend, despite a strict lockdown since late March. Financial hub Gauteng, tourist centre Western Cape and the Eastern Cape have seen steep rises for months, with total cases at roughly 183,000, 97,000 and 80,000 respectively. “The number of new infections is increasing at a lower rate than what had been happening in the whole of June and up to the middle of July. That clearly indicates to us that there is a declining trend,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told a news con...
Lockdown lifestyle means you could pay less on insurance
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Lockdown lifestyle means you could pay less on insurance

The Covid-19 lockdown is likely to permanently change the way many people work, with more expected to be working remotely or from home in future and only travelling to their workplace a few times a week or only when necessary.Not driving their vehicles as much or as far as before, having a reduced risk of being involved in an accident, and less traffic and congestion creates an opportunity for motorists and households to reduce their monthly insurance premiums. Many insurance companies have duly temporarily reduced motorists’ monthly premiums. Read: Covid-19 is shaking up the insurance sector Wynand van Vuuren, head of legal and customer experience partner at King Price Insurance, said the accident portion of comprehensive motor vehicle insurance accounts for 60% to 65% of monthly pr...
July Absa PMI signals slower manufacturing improvement
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July Absa PMI signals slower manufacturing improvement

South Africa’s seasonally-adjusted Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) expanded in July, although at a slower rate compared to the previous month. The index, which gauges manufacturing activity in Africa’s most industrialised economy, fell to 51.2 points in July from 53.9 points in June, remaining above the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction. The business activity sub-index ticked down slightly to 62.9 from 64.6 in June, Absa said in a statement on Monday. “The fact that more respondents signalled a further increase in output compared to those seeing further growth in demand, could perhaps be explained by some firms producing more in an attempt to catch up on production lost during earlier stricter lockdown levels,” Absa said. The employment sub-index showed ...
Telkom moves into financial services
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Telkom moves into financial services

Telkom has branched into the competitive space of financial services by launching a life insurance business that it said will initially sell funeral insurance. Telkom and other mobile operators in South Africa are looking to tap more than 11 million South Africans who do not have bank accounts to offer lending and other financial services, a move that is set to threaten traditional and digital banks. They are also seeking to expand their mobile payment apps into online market places to leverage their network and customer base. Shift “In recent years Telkom has made a strategic shift to digital distribution, which puts it in an ideal position to distribute insurance products using its considerable digital structure and intellectual property,” Sibusiso Ngweny...