The JSE edged higher on Wednesday morning, although gains were marginal, as investors continued to grapple with the fall-out from UK Prime Minister Theresa May's historic Brexit defeat.

British MPs have overwhelmingly rejected May's draft deal, giving her until Monday to come up with an alternative. May also faces a no-confidence vote after local markets close on Wednesday, but she is expected to survive this.

A firmer rand was bolstering local banks and financial stocks on Wednesday morning, but precious-metals miners remained under pressure.

Most local mining stocks were under strain on Tuesday after disappointing local production data for November. They have also been buffeted by a stronger rand in January, amid improved sentiment towards emerging-market assets, with analysts citing the dovish stance adopted by the US Federal Reserve.

At 10am the all share was up 0.21% at 53,647.2 points and the top 40 0.32%. Banks were up 0.38% and industrials 0.2%. Gold miners had lost 1.25% and platinums 1.44%.

Retailers could be given direction later in the day with the release of sales data for that sector in November, due at 1pm.

The spotlight, however, is expected to remain on Brexit issues as traders gauge the likelihood of May's departure.

Gold was flat at $1,289.70/oz while platinum was up 0.24% at $800.87/oz. Brent crude was 0.23% higher at $60.80 a barrel.

Exxaro fell 2.59% to R145.78 and Assore 1.34% to R303.50.

Rand hedge AB InBev gave up 1.3% to R989.38.

Harmony Gold was down 2.85% at R24.92.

Ascendis gave up a further 5.7% to R5.62, having fallen 3.87% on Tuesday. On Monday, it had jumped 12.52% on news a buyer was interest in its Cyprus-based Remedica unit.