Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

Asian markets returned to gloom on Thursday morning, indicating another bad day for the JSE, which fell 1.6% on Wednesday.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.6% after Japanese balance of trade figures for September showed exports declined by 1.2% whereas the economists’ consensus was 1.9% growth.

Tencent was down 1.1% to HK$278.40, indicating Naspers is likely to continue Wednesday’s slide of 2.26% to R2,757.15.

BHP was down 1.56% to A$33.14 in Sydney. BHP closed 2.2% down at R291.65 on the JSE on Wednesday.

The release of the US central bank’s Federal open market committee’s minutes, which indicated further interest rate increases, saw the dollar strengthen against most currencies, including the rand, which was trading at R14.27/$ at 6.20am.

The rand was at R16.40/€ and R18.69/£.

Computer group Datatec said on October 2 that it expected to report on Thursday that its first-half results would show a return to headline earnings per share (HEPS) of between 0.5 US cents and 1c from a headline loss of 5.8c.

“Datatec had a strong start to the financial year, achieving a solid operational performance across all divisions with the reshaping of Westcon International and central cost reductions proceeding according to plan,” the company said in its trading statement.

Chemicals group Spanjaard also said it expected to report a return to profit in the first half of its financial year.

Spanjaard said on October 11 that it expected to report HEPS of between 14.44c and 16.56c for the six months to end-August from a 35.48c headline loss in the matching period.

It is a busy day on the economics front, with StatsSA scheduled to release five reports, including August’s mining production and sales figures at 11am after a week’s delay caused by the department of mineral resources missing its deadline.

In July, South African mining output declined by 5.2% from the same month in 2017, and Investec Bank economist Lara Hodes expects this slide to continue in August, albeit at a slower pace of about 4%.

“Hopefully the newly gazetted Mining Charter, version three, will create a degree of regulatory and policy certainty and will in turn attract much needed investment into this significant sector of the economy,” Hodes said in her weekly economics note.

StatsSA is also scheduled to release August’s civil cases for debt figures at 9am, wholesale trade sales at 10am, motor trade sales at 11.30am and building statistics at 1pm.

laingr@businesslive.co.za

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