The JSE closed marginally higher on Wednesday in subdued trade, as investors remained on the sidelines ahead of the public holiday on Thursday.

Volumes were low at R14bn on the day as retailers rose on a rangebound rand, with banks and financials following suit.

Global markets were mixed. Sentiment was cautious amid indications that US President Donald Trump’s higher tariff policy towards China was beginning to bear fruit from an US perspective.

The US indicated on Tuesday that it would begin imposing another 25% in duties on an additional $16bn of Chinese imports, but risk assets continued to find some support from a stabilising Chinese yuan and upbeat earnings reports.

Surging imports helped narrow China’s trade surplus to the US in July to $28.05bn, below the $39.10bn consensus view. The country’s trade surplus with the US also narrowed, falling to $28.09bn in July from a record monthly high of $28.90bn in June, data showed.

However, the Dow was slightly lower at the JSE’s close amid signs that US trade concerns were beginning to damp small business sentiment, as optimism for growth fell in July to its lowest level since the 2016 US presidential election, according to a top monthly survey.

The all share closed 0.14% higher at 57,786.3 points and the top 40 gained 0.07%. General retailers rose 0.8%, food and drug retailers 0.78%, property 0.62%, financials 0.52% and banks 0.51%. Platinums slipped 1.39% and resources 0.47%.

BHP fell 0.63% to R297.55.

ArcelorMittal gave back 10.68% to R4.60, its first negative close in seven sessions.

MTN plummeted 8.11% to R104.85, after the group earlier slashed its interim dividend, reporting a drop of 3% in revenue for the six months to end-June.

Naspers ended the day 0.69% higher at R3,351.83.

The rand was at R13.4024 to the dollar from R13.3344 after the JSE’s close, as the euro hovered at about $1.16.

Losses in the rand were capped in the form of a falling oil price, which had rallied earlier in the week after the US re-imposed sanctions on Iran.

Brent crude was 2.7% lower at $72.4 a barrel.

Local bonds were largely unchanged with the R186 bid at 8.675% from 8.68%. The US 10-year treasury was last seen at 2.9642% from 2.9772%.

The top 40 Alsi futures index dropped 0.07% to 51,450 points. The number of contracts traded was 18,638 from Tuesday’s 21,643.