Picture: REUTERS/PHILIMON BULAWAYO
Picture: REUTERS/PHILIMON BULAWAYO

The JSE edged higher in broad-based gains on Wednesday morning, although there were few major events to give global markets a clear direction.

The rand was slightly softer against the dollar, which itself was retreating a little against the euro. US President Donald Trump’s state of the union address on Tuesday contained no big surprises.

Instead, Trump offered no clear assurances of progress in US-China trade talks, nor did he give any sign he may be able to secure the  bipartisan support required to pursue his political agenda, said BK Asset Management MD Boris Schlossberg. This was putting some pressure on the greenback, he said.

At 10.02am the all share was 0.35% firmer at 54,397.4 points and the top 40 was up 0.34%. Platinums were up 1.09%, gold miners 0.76%, the property index 0.4% and the resources index 0.2%.

Markets are expected to trade slightly cautiously this week, as many Asian bourses are closed for the Lunar New Year. Positive US corporate earnings reports, however, has lifted sentiment towards equities a little, analysts said.

There are few events of note on Wednesday. Focus will instead be on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address on Thursday.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s trip to Brussels on Thursday may also generate headlines, as she attempts to negotiate further Brexit concessions from the EU.

Gold was flat at $1,315.24/oz, while platinum was down 0.26% to $817.39.

Brent crude was 0.47% lower at $61.68 a barrel.

Rand hedge AB InBev had gained 1.74% to R1,069.32 and Richemont 1.15% to R95.

Sappi fell 6.12% to R74.92, despite reporting earlier that sales in the quarter to end-December rose 28.5% to $81m, compared with the previous period. Net debt in the first quarter of the paper and pulp producer’s financial year rose to $1.55bn from the previous period’s $1.34bn.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za