The JSE ended weaker on Thursday, tracking negative investor sentiment on Wall Street, after the release of the weaker-than-expected US non-manufacturing data.
However, local banking shares set a fresh closing record, led by solid performances from Standard Bank (SBK) and Nedbank (NED).
At 17:00 local time, the JSE all-share index was down 0.31 percent to 34,375.51 points, with gold shares sliding 2.03 percent, platinum shares losing 1.15 percent and resources shedding 1.30 percent.
Financials lifted 1 percent, banking shares rallied 2.15 percent while industrials edged down 0.19 percent.
The rand was trading at 7.72 to the US dollar, from 7.74 at JSE's close on Wednesday. Gold was quoted at US$1,635.31 a troy ounce from US$1,652.65/oz at the JSE's previous close, while platinum was at $1,539.50/oz, from $1,561.50/oz at the previous session.
"We have received a raft of mixed economic data this week, which unnerved investors hence a bit of caution ahead of the US jobs report on Friday," said Nick Kunze, head of dealing at BJM Private Clients Services.
US stocks traded lower on Thursday a day ahead of the government employment report as a measure of non-manufacturing economic activity missed expectations and investors shrugged off an upbeat weekly reading on the job market, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
The number of US workers filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in a month, a hopeful sign for a labour market that had shown signs of weakening. The closely watched monthly jobs report is out on Friday. A worse-than-expected private-sector jobs report on Wednesday had sent stocks lower.
Expansion in the US non-manufacturing sector slowed more than expected in April, according to the Institute for Supply Management. The ISM's non-manufacturing purchasing index fell to 53.5 last month, down from 56 in March and trailing forecasts for a drop to 55.5. Readings above 50 indicate activity is expanding.
European markets also turned lower after the US non-manufacturing report.
On the JSE, Anglo American (AGL) slipped R2.91 to R296.59, BHP Billiton (BIL) lost R4.40, or 1.74 percent, to R248.78, while Sasol (SOL) shed R2.95 to R367.54.
AngloGold Ashanti (ANG) dropped R5.29, or 2.01 percent, to R258.06, Gold Fields (GFI) was down R1.99, or 2 percent, to R97.62, while Harmony (HAR) dipped R1.80, or 2.41 percent, to R72.84.
Impala Platinum (IMP) slid R2.21, or 1.49 percent to R146.55 and Lonmin (LON) lost R2.59 or 1.95 percent, to R130.41.
Among other miners, ArcelorMittal SA (ACL) dipped R1.13, or 1.90 percent, to R58.22.
In industrials, Richemont (CFR) gained 49 cents, or 1.01 percent, to R48.81.
Among banking shares, Standard Bank was up R3.22, or 2.83 percent, to R116.87, Nedbank (NED) rallied R4.04, or 2.40 percent, to R172.54 and FirstRand (FSR) gained 44 cents, or 1.71 percent, to R26.10.