Taking Stock - TikTok to roll out support for user's mental health

In today's taking stock we discuss, TikTok that has announced a set of features to help users struggling with mental health issues and thoughts of suicide.

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Sasfin Wealth
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MARKET COMMENTARY

SOUTH AFRICAN MARKET COMMENTARY

Shares listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) slipped on Tuesday after a strong start to the week, as weak platinum prices pulled down the mining companies which had spearheaded most of the gains earlier. However, local banks, often considered the barometer of the domestic economy, fared well as investors said the worst of the third wave of coronavirus in the country was over and some green shoots were visible. The benchmark all-share index ended down 0.54% to 64,300 points and the blue-chip index of top-40 companies closed down 0.65% to 58,115 points.

 

 

EUROPEAN MARKET COMMENTARY

European stocks closed mixed Tuesday as investors reacted to U.S. inflation data that could inform the Federal Reserve’s timing for tapering of its monetary stimulus. The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed little changed, with mining stocks sinking 1.9% while tech shares rose 1.2%. In terms of individual share price movement, British retailer JD Sports climbed 9.7% on Tuesday to top the Stoxx 600 after reporting a sevenfold surge in first-half earnings.

 

 

US MARKET COMMENTARY

U.S. stock indexes closed lower Tuesday, giving up gains earlier in the session after a better-than-feared inflation reading and falling back into their September doldrums. Stocks popped at the open after the August consumer price index, while still showing a significant jump in inflation, came in less than expected. However, the stock averages turned lower roughly half an hour into trading. Shares linked to the economic recovery dropped. Bank of America lost 2.6%. General Electric took industrial shares into the red, closing 3.9% lower.

 

 

ASIAN MARKET COMMENTARY

Shares in Asia-Pacific were lower this morning following losses overnight on Wall Street, with investors reacted to the release of Chinese economic data. Data released earlier today showed China’s retail sales growing at a much slower pace than expected in August. The retail sales print for the month grew 2.5%, against a 7% growth forecast by analysts polled by Reuters.

 

 

 

 

CURRENCY MARKET COMMENTARY

The rand slumped on Tuesday afternoon, bringing to a halt a recent rally as investment bank JPMorgan recommended selling the currency. At the close of the session, the rand was trading around R14.33 versus the dollar or 1.31% softer. JPMorgan said in a note to clients that three factors made the rand look vulnerable: it had reached high levels on an in-house emerging market risk appetite index, key terms of trade were starting to look less favourable and investors might also look at hedging options again soon.

 

 

COMMODITIES MARKET COMMENTARY

Gold prices held above the key psychological level of $1,800 as the dollar and bond yields came under pressure after a tamer-than-expected rise in U.S. inflation led to uncertainty on when the U.S. central bank will begin tapering its asset purchases. Oil prices climbed this morning after industry data showed a larger than expected drawdown in crude oil stocks in the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, and on expectations that demand will recover as vaccine roll-outs widen.

LOCAL COMPANIES

Stor-Age (SSS) 0%

Self-storage real estate investment trust (Reit) Stor-Age put out a strong business and trading update on the JSE on Tuesday and announced plans to develop new self-storage properties in greater Sandton as part of a joint venture (JV) with Nedbank Corporate and Investment Bank – SA’s largest commercial property financier. “Stor-Age has agreed terms to enter a JV with Nedbank Corporate and Investment Bank, acting through Nedbank Property Partners, subject to the finalisation of formal contract documentation, to develop two high profile properties in Morningside [7 400m² gross lettable area or GLA] and Bryanston [4 700m²] at a total cost of approximately R200 million,” it noted in a JSE Sens statement. It said that construction is scheduled to start at both properties in the second half of its 2022 financial year and that the two developments form part of the group’s existing R685 million overall South African development pipeline. As part of the JV, Stor-Age will own a 50.1% equity stake while Nedbank will hold the balance. Stor-Age said the JV will be funded by equity and mezzanine funding from both parties of 35% and senior debt of 65% of the total development costs. The newly developed properties as part of the JV will be branded and managed by Stor-Age, while the group will also earn development and property management fees from the JV. The group is the country’s largest and only JSE-listed self-storage-focused property counter. “In South Africa on a same store like-for-like basis … the average rental rate has increased by 7.1% year-on-year, while total occupancy has increased by 9 200m² or 3%,” it said. Stor-Age added that in the UK the average rental rate had increased by 5.7% year-on-year, while total occupancy increased by 9 800m² or 10.4% in the same period.

 

Karooooo (KARO) 0%

Karooooo, the Nasdaq-listed mobility software company that owns South Africa’s Cartrack Holdings, has acquired digital logistics specialist Picup Technologies in a R70 million deal. Antonio Bruni, founder and CEO of Picup, and the management team will remain invested with a 29.9% stake. Karooooo has the option to increase its shareholding to 83.5% in time. Picup is a system integration partner of Cartrack’s and specialises in the “online delivery operational management software industry”, Karooooo said in a statement on Monday. It is a “highly competitive and entrepreneurial, founder-led business” with strong growth prospects “given the acceleration of e-commerce transactions and the demand to digitise logistics”, it added. “Cartrack customers are now able to manage their own fleets and workflows, interact with specialist courier companies, as well as a network of vetted crowd-sourced drivers, thus enabling them to scale their e-commerce business, deliveries and general logistic needs efficiently,” Karooooo said.

INTERNATIONAL COMPANIES

TikTok

TikTok has announced a set of features to help users struggling with mental health issues and thoughts of suicide. The features include guides on wellbeing and support for people who are struggling with eating disorders. There is also a search intervention feature that directs users to support resources if they look up terms such as "suicide". The move comes as rival platform Instagram comes under fresh scrutiny over its impact on users' wellbeing. In the announcement TikTok said: "We care deeply about our community, and we always look for new ways in which we can nurture their well-being. "That's why we're taking additional steps to make it easier for people to find resources when they need them on TikTok."

 

Kroger (KR) -2.5%

Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said Tuesday that one of its biggest challenges is a shortage of staff. The grocer currently has about 20,000 job openings, McMullen said, in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “We’re aggressively hiring anywhere we can,” he said. “One of the biggest constraints we have right now is finding talented people.” Kroger is the country’s largest supermarket operator with more than 2,700 stores under multiple banners, including its own name and other brands such as Ralphs, Harris Teeter and Fry’s. It had about 460,000 employees at the close of the last fiscal year, which ended Jan. 30. The grocer is competing for workers at a time when there are more job openings than people — and some are opting out of the workforce because of other factors, such as a lack of child care.

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Research Team
Media, Sasfin Wealth