Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The JSE tracked Asian markets lower on Wednesday morning, fretting over the latest events in the US-China trade war.

Global markets are still digesting disappointing data from Monday. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) trimmed its global economic forecasts for 2019 and 2020 and pointed to risks including trade tensions and rising interest rates while China’s government said 2018 growth was at the slowest pace since 1990.

At 9.40am the JSE all share index was down 0.46% to 53,829.3 points and the top 40 was down 0.55%. General retailers were up 0.26% while banks were down 0.36% and industrials 0.87%.

Close attention will be paid to the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, where numerous policy makers are gathering to discuss geopolitical tension and the trade war. Last week, the US pulled out citing the government shutdown, which is closing in on its first month — the longest on record. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signalled that there would be “no cave” in a tweet.

Naspers was in the red, falling 2.2% to R3080.74, tracking its Hong Kong-listing Tencent which lost 1.19% to HK$331.80.

Long 4 Life fell 2.09% to R4.68 following an announcement on Tuesday that two of its directors sold their shares.

The JSE weakened on Tuesday, as a spate of disappointing updates from retailers again underscored the fragile state of SA's economy.

Massmart, which plunged 20.96% on Tuesday after warning shareholders its headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the year to end-December would fall by up to 36.5%, halted its slide on Wednesday.

Gold was flat with 0.01% at $1,284.82/oz while platinum had gained 0.35% to $792.62.

menons@businesslive.co.za