Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE looks likely to trip after its run of three winning trading days on Wednesday, taking its cue from the US.

The S&P 500 index started well on Tuesday, clocking 2,800 points for the first time, before stumbling to close 0.5% lower at 2,776 points.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index was down 0.7% on Wednesday and Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.44% at 6.45am SA time, setting a gloomy tone for the JSE’s opening.

The rand — which surged from R12.36 to the dollar to under R12.20 on Tuesday on fresh rumours that the new ANC leadership will oust President Jacob Zuma at Thursday’s meeting — was at R12.29 to the dollar, R15.06 to the euro and R16.94 to the pound.

Retailers, which have been in focus this week with sales updates from Woolworths, Shoprite and TFG, remain in the spotlight on Wednesday with Statistics SA scheduled to release November’s trade sales figures at 1pm.

The growing popularity in SA of the US "Black Friday" tradition of heavily marketing discounted items on the fourth Friday of November has shifted some Christmas shopping back a month from December.

Investec Bank economist Kamilla Kaplan said in her weekly note e-mailed on Friday that she forecasts November’s retail sales growth accelerated to about 4.1% from October’s 3.2%.

"Much of the lift in November is projected to have been derived from consumers taking advantage of Black Friday deals. However, the performance of the retail sector over the festive period overall is not expected to be particularly strong, based on the indications provided by the fourth quarter Bureau of Economic Research retail survey," Kaplan wrote.

"Specifically, confidence amongst retailers remained depressed and survey respondents noted that ‘conditions in the retail sector remain tough’, with the net majority expecting business conditions to deteriorate in the first quarter of 2018.

"Shopper appetite is likely to remain curtailed by the weak labour market, relatively tight credit conditions applied to households, and persistently depressed consumer confidence."

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