Bull and bear statues at the JSE. Picture: MICHAEL BRATT
Bull and bear statues at the JSE. Picture: MICHAEL BRATT

Hopes of a Valentines Day reconciliation between the US and China buoyed Asian stocks on Tuesday morning, helping the JSE overcome some of the gloom that Eskom has plunged SA into.

US treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin is scheduled to lead a delegation to Beijing on Thursday for talks aimed at resolving a tariff war over US complaints about Chinese technology ambitions, Dow Jones reported.

The talks are the last scheduled high-level meeting before an agreement by both sides to suspend further punitive action against each other's goods expires on March 1.

Optimism that the talks will go well sent Tokyo's Nikkei 225 up 2.61% on Tuesday morning ahead of the JSE's opening.

Naspers's main asset Tencent invested $150m in US social media site Reddit, which is banned in China for not practising any censorship on user comments, no matter how obnoxious and offensive. 

Bloomberg noted the irony in an opinion piece titled Tencent is the kind of bogeyman Redditors thrive on: “One exists to give near boundless voice to all and sundry, the other’s purpose is to connect people, companies and money under the watchful eye of one of the world’s most restrictive governments.”

News of its investment in Reddit knocked Tencent down 0.11% to HK$351.60, but Naspers nevertheless rose 1.43% to $3,073.38, helping the top 40 gain 0.78% to 47,593 points at 10.10am.

The top 40's second largest constituent, BHP, rose 0.43% to R305.57, continuing its rally on expectations it will benefit from Vale's iron ore supply problems.

The rand was trading at R13.76/$, R15.52/€ and R17.70/£, holding relatively firm after falling on Monday night as news of Eskom's supply collapse rattled investors.

roblaing@businesslive.co.za