Will January be a Red Month for South African Equities?

The JSE Top 40 Index (JSE: J200) finds itself navigating turbulent waters as it braces for a third consecutive week of losses, signalling potential challenges for investors in the South African market. With a 2.70% decline this week, the index is on the verge of marking its second deepest weekly loss for the year, mirroring broader uncertainties in the global economic landscape. 

In a striking revelation, less than a fifth of the top 40 have managed year-to-date gains, with Multichoice Group LTD (JSE: MCG) leading the pack with an impressive 13% increase. On the flip side, Impala Platinum Holdings LTD (JSE: IMP) and Sasol Limited (JSE: SOL) grapple with the deepest losses, facing an 18.94% and 15.26% decline, respectively, as at the time of writing. External factors, such as the strength of the U.S. dollar driven by expectations of prolonged higher interest rates, compound the internal challenges faced by companies like Sasol and risk assets overall. 

South Africa’s top exports, Gold and Platinum, face headwinds amid declining commodity prices, exacerbating challenges for the mining sector. The sluggish post-pandemic economic rebound in China, South Africa’s largest export destination, further casts shadows on economic prospects. In the face of these formidable global economic pressures, the question looms large – can the JSE Top 40 Index break free from this new year rut and navigate the intricate currents of the global economy?  


The JSE Top 40 Index showed signs of relief on Thursday, gaining 1% and putting an end to a concerning three-day losing streak. Despite this brief respite, the index remains ensnared within a downtrend, trading below the 100-day moving average and within the confines of a descending channel pattern. 

Initially, the index operated within the bounds of support and resistance at levels 66171.76 and 70720.91, respectively. However, a breakdown beneath the support level signalled intensified bearish pressures, casting a shadow over the market. The breach opens the door to a potential test of a 46-day low at 65053.90 if bearish forces persist. 

Interestingly, amidst the gloom, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) reflected oversold conditions leading up to Thursday’s 1% gain. This could suggest a potential reversal in sentiment. Should the index stage a retracement, a breakout beyond the 66171.76 level might pave the way for a convergence with the 100-day moving average.  


As the JSE Top 40 Index contends with a three-week losing streak and technical challenges below the 100-day moving average, investors face a pivotal moment. Global economic pressures, bearish signals, and oversold conditions present a complex landscape. If a reversal finds traction beyond the critical 66171.76 level, it could indicate a shift in sentiment. 

Sources: South African Revenue Services, Observatory of Economic Complexity, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Reuters, TradingView 

Piece Written By Nkosilathi Dube, Trive Financial Market Analyst 

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