The JSE opened lower on Wednesday, as Asian markets retreated on a softer close on the Dow and as the market eyed developments in Zimbabwe.

Gold was up on a weaker dollar and retail stocks were firmer ahead of the release of retail sales data later in the day.

Early-morning reports stated that President Robert Mugabe was under house arrest and may be preparing to step down.

Analysts said the reported coup in Zimbabwe had had little effect on the overall market and the rand. Trade in individual shares with interests in Zimbabwe, including Impala Platinum, were flat in cautious trade.

"We have to wait to see what the real outcome is in Zimbabwe before making any suggestions on how it could affect the rand," said TreasuryOne analyst Andre Botha.

The rand was unchanged at R13.37 to the dollar. The platinum price added 0.24% to $928.76/oz.

The Dow closed 0.13% lower at 23,409.47 points on Tuesday as the run on General Electric continued with the blue-chip share falling another 5%. Apple also traded lower, losing 1.5%

Asian shares were sold off on in reaction. The Nikkei 225 lost 1.57% and the Hang Seng 0.86%.

"Despite another strong earnings season, the rally in US stocks had stalled," said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

The market may be susceptible to a further pullback, even one that was not particularly large, he said.

At 9.31am the all share was 0.25% lower at 59,368.80 points and the blue-chip top 40 also 0.25%. Resources shed 0.69%, platinums 0.38% and banks 0.21%. The gold index rose 2.04% and general retailers 0.42%.

Gold Fields gained 2.92% to R56.35.

Impala Platinum, which has platinum mines in Zimbabwe through Zimplats, was flat at R37.11.

Brait was 0.68% lower at R48.36. The group reported that its net asset value per share at end-September stood at R66.62, 10.1% lower than in the previously comparable period in 2016.

Among banks, Barclays Africa shed 0.42% to R143.10.

Spar dropped 2.11% to R167.10. The group said headline earnings per share (HEPS) had dropped 6.6% in the year to end-September.

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