Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE started Monday lower on mixed Asian markets following an upbeat close by the Dow on Friday as subdued US jobs data failed to dampen sentiment.

Banks and financials lost ground on a softer rand, trading at R13.36 to the dollar at the opening from R13.3346.

The euro was below $1.16 to the dollar, at $1.1566, and gold stocks were under pressure by the dollar.

The Dow closed 0.54% higher, ending a choppy week flat. The Hang Seng rose 0.46% on Monday, while the Shanghai Composite lost 1.29%. The Nikkei was flat.

Focus is on US markets again, analysts say. After a dip in the middle of the year, US markets have regained traction, moving towards January’s highs, with emerging markets on the back foot amid a surging dollar.

The market view is that the US is in a strong position should a global trade war with China escalate further. Last week, China proposed to expand tariffs on US goods to the value of $60bn.

FxPro analysts said it was likely that the Fed would maintain its commitment to the gradual tightening of interest rates, with two more hikes in 2018.

They said the US market continued to attract investors' interest with strong company reporting pushing stock indices higher, despite a pullback from Facebook. "The dollar is experiencing impressive demand."

At 9.45am the all share was 0.44% weaker at 56,865.20 points and the top 40 lost 0.45%. Banks lost 1.21%, the gold index 1.07%, financials 0.72%, food and drug retailers 0.56%, general retailers 0.55% and industrials 0.43%.

ArcelorMittal continued its good recent run, rising 10.5% to R4.70.

Remgro slipped 1.81% to R208.04.

Absa dropped 2.93% to R166.25. The group reported headline earnings rose 3% to R8bn for the first six months of 2018.

FirstRand dropped 1.58% to R67.68.

Mr Price shed 0.73% to R227.43 and Woolworths 0.4% to R51.69 among property stocks.

Nepi Rockcastle lost 0.38% to R119.53.

Naspers was down 0.58% to R3,217.07.