Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The JSE rose in mid-morning trade on Friday amid signs of bargain-hunting in some beaten-down stocks.

The all share was up 0.75% to 51,187.70 points, pulling away from a two-year low touched on Thursday. The top 40 rebounded 0.84%.

The local share market took its cue from Asia, where the mood was calmer after a big sell-off a day earlier.

Equity markets have generally struggled to make headway for the better part of 2018, held back in part by concerns over slowing global growth and a rising interest environment in the US in particular.

But Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell signalled last week that world's most influential central bank could pause in its tightening cycle — a scenario that is positive for stock markets.

To this end, investors will monitor the US nonfarm payrolls report to gauge the health of the US labour market. The Fed's signals came amid plummeting oil prices, which could put downward pressure on inflation.

“Investors holding their nerve in the hope that the Santa rally will save the day are seriously suffering at the moment,” said Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam, referring to the big drop in major stock indices this week.

"We’ve gone from trepidation over escalating trade wars to full-blown fear of a recession, it would seem, I wonder whether this is all a bit of an overreaction."

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 0.32%, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.21%.

Some of the early gainers on the JSE included Kumba Iron Ore, which recovered 4.14% to R271.18. But Anglo American Platinum shed 2.47% to R473.

Woolworths regained 1.99% to R56.75 and Shoprite 2.01% to R194.83.

MTN Group rose 1.71% to R87.47 and Telkom 2.59% to R61.04.

Nedbank was up 2.07% to R263.21 and Old Mutual 1.83% to R21.74.

Healthcare group Netcare rebounded 2.25% to R26.39.