The JSE. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The JSE. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

The JSE may be in for a bad Wednesday, judging by the all share index’s two largest constituents.

In Hong Kong ahead of the JSE’s opening, the dominant asset of Naspers, Tencent, was down 1% to $348.

In Sydney, its second-largest constituent, BHP, was down 0.8% to A$35.99 despite oil prices rising after Saudi Arabia said it would reduce its output in March.

JSE investors received bad news on Tuesday when construction group Wilson Bayly Holmes Ovcon (WBHO) warned that an Australian road project may drag it into a loss.

WBHO’s share price closed 12.5% lower at R115.50 after issuing a statement saying it expected to make a loss on the project due to the “interpretation of the technical specifications within the contract bid design resulting in the underestimation of the physical construction works required under the design and construct contract”.

The construction group is scheduled to release results for the first half of its 2019 financial year on February 26.

A further piece of the December quarter and 2018 GDP puzzle will be revealed at 1pm when Stats SA reports December’s retail sales figures.

Retail sales growth is expected to have slowed to about 2.7% from November’s 3.1%, according to a poll of economists done by Trading Economics.

On Tuesday, Stats SA reported December’s annual manufacturing growth slowed substantially to 0.1% from November’s 1.3%, taking its seasonally adjusted average for the December quarter to 1.2%. The economists consensus was for manufacturing production to grow to 1.7% instead of slowing down substantially.

“Underlying economic activity remains generally weak and patchy. Downside risks to the growth outlook have also increased in recent weeks given the start of another round of load-shedding and the high probability of further rounds given severe operational difficulties at Eskom,” Nedbank’s economic team said in a note e-mailed on Tuesday.

DRDGold said on February 1 that it expected to report on Wednesday that it fell into an interim headline loss per share of about 7.2c from headline earnings per share (HEPS) of 14.3c in the matching period.

The mining dump re-processor said the drop in earnings was primarily due to the costs associated with the commissioning and start of its new Far West Gold Recoveries (FWGR) project, as well as a 3% decrease in gold produced.

Private school group Curro said on February 5 that it expected to report on Wednesday that its HEPS for the year to end-December would grow about 25%.

The rand was trading at R13.71/$, R15.55/€ and R17.70/£ at 6.55am.

laingr@businesslive.co.za