The JSE was almost 1.5% weaker by midday on Monday, in line with weak global markets where airline and banking stocks were under pressure.
The travel chaos caused by ash from the erupting volcano in Iceland have pressured airline and travel stocks, while the banking sector is weak as news Goldman Sachs has been charged with fraud sparked renewed fears about the sector.
On the JSE it was only gold stocks that were in positive territory.
By noon the JSE all share index was off 1.44%, with resources 1.73% weaker and platinum miners 3.01% lower. Gold miners, however, were up 0.68%. Banks were 2.49% weaker, financials shed 0.83%, while the industrial index edged down 0.83%.
Gold was quoted at $1,127.91 a troy ounce from $1,141.41/oz at the JSE's last close. Platinum was at $1,680.50/oz from $1,706/oz at the JSE's last close.
A local trader said that the rand has weakened and some investors might be seeing gold counters as safe haven. "I don't think this blip as too much of a problem yet - it's just a knee jerk reaction. I think the market was just looking for a reason to take profits," said the trader.
"There is pressure on global markets across the board, but it's probably a bit overdue. Markets are looking overbought in the short term, but there are a lot of positives around. We are still in the US earnings season, so we are likely to see some volatility.
"If you look at the likes of Anglo and Billiton - they are down today - and they have nothing to do with the Goldman Sachs issue," he said.
Dow Jones Newswires reported the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in a civil suit, accused Goldman of "defrauding investors by misstating and omitting key facts about a financial product tied to subprime mortgages as the U.S. housing market was beginning to falter."
Asian stocks also tumbled Monday as financial firms took hits from news that Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs had been charged with misleading investors.
On the JSE, Anglo American was R6.50 or 1.97% lower at R323.50, while BHP Billiton slipped R4.90 or 1.96% to R245.70.
Sasol was off five rand or 1.66% to R296.