The JSE enjoyed a round of fairly decent gains on Wednesday, tracking positive global sentiment, as market players looked to the two-day US Federal Reserve meeting outcomes for some guidance in the near term.
At 17:01 local time, the JSE all-share index was up 0.61 percent to 34,028.81 points, with resources adding 1.13 percent, platinum shares advancing 0.37 percent and gold counters lifting 1.55 percent.
Financials climbed 0.45 percent, as were banking stocks, up 0.58 percent, while industrials rose 0.34 percent.
The rand was trading at 7.78 to the US dollar, from 7.79 at the JSE's close on Tuesday. Gold was quoted at US$1,637.99 a troy ounce from US$1,642.55/oz at the JSE's previous close, while platinum was at $1,550.20/oz, from $1,548.50/oz at the previous session.
"The Apple results set the tone for improved market sentiment, but we also received downbeat macroeconomic data out of the UK and US, which served as a reminder that the global economic recovery is still patchy," said Nick Kunze, head of dealing at BJM Private Clients Services.
US stocks opened higher on Wednesday as blowout results from Apple and gains in global markets helped lift investor spirits ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy statement, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
Apple shares soared more 8 percent after the technology bellwether reported fiscal second-quarter earnings, revenue and iPhone sales that blew past expectations.
The Fed policy setting committee will release its latest statement, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a press conference. Investors will be looking for signs of any potential changes in monetary policy.
In economic headlines, US data on durable goods orders for March showed a drop of 4.2 percent from the previous month, below expectations. Excluding transportation, orders fell 1.1 percent.
European markets were broadly higher, as strong results from Apple and European companies helped offset data showing that the UK fell into recession during the first quarter.
UK gross domestic product fell 0.2 percent in the first quarter, compared with expectations of a slight rise, after declining 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter. A recession is widely believed to be defined by two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.
At 16:50 local time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.60 percent to 13,079.93 points local time.
On the JSE, Anglo American (AGL) was up R4.92, or 1.69 percent, to R295.53, BHP Billiton (BIL) gained R2.75, or 1.14 percent to R243 and Sasol (SOL) rose R1.60 to R364.80.
Among gold stocks, AngloGold Ashanti (ANG) added R5.07, or 1.98 percent, to R260.57, Gold Fields (GFI) was up R1.02, or 1.05 percent, to R98.02 and Harmony (HAR) climbed R1.10, or 1.50 percent, to R74.32.
Lonmin (LON) picked up R3.43, or 2.73 percent, to R129.04 and Aquarius Platinum (AQP) added 68 cents, or 4 percent, to R17.68.
Among other miners, Exxaro (EXX) recovered R2.48, or 1.21 percent, to R207.95.
In industrials, Richemont (CFR) rose R1.37, or 2.90 percent, to R48.61.
Pioneer Food Group (PFG) was up seven cents to R59.22. The consumer goods group said earlier it expected adjusted headline earnings per share in the six months ended March 2012 to between 4 percent and 12 percent lower compared with the same period a year ago.
The adjusted HEPS excludes the R160 million once-off charge relating to the implementation of the phase two broad-based black economic empowerment deal.
Cashbuild (CSB) gained 45 cents to R129.35. The building materials retailer reported a 9 percent year-on-year growth in revenue for the third quarter of its 2012 financial year.
Stores opened since 1 July 2010 (7 stores) contributed 1 percent of the increase, while existing stores (184 stores) contributed 8 percent of the increase, it said.
This, together with the growth reported in the first half, equates to an increase in revenue year to date of 9 percent.
Foschini (TFG) lifted R3.14, or 2.51 percent, to R128.05. The clothing retailer said it expected its basic and headline earnings per for the year ended March 2012 to between 20 percent and 23 percent higher compared with same period a year earlier.