Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the US, February 13 2019. REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the US, February 13 2019. REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID

Naspers and BHP, which together account for a third of the JSE’s top 40 index, are likely to drag the local bourse down on Friday.

In Hong Kong, Naspers’s dominant asset Tencent was down 2.4% to HK$333.60, and in Sydney, BHP was down 0.52% to A$36.48.

Asian markets were in a sour mood after the US’s December retail sales data showed a 1.2% decline from November instead of the expected 0.2% growth. Annual US retail sales grew 2.3%, down from 4.1% in November.

A poll of economists done by Reuters showed the growing fear that US President Donald Trump’s trade war with China will push the country into a recession in 2019.

Gold Fields is scheduled to release its results for the year to end-December on Friday.

It said in a trading statement on February 6 that headline earnings per share (HEPS) were expected to fall about 70% and its basic loss per share was expected to be about $0.42, more than 20 times its $0.02 loss per share in 2017.

Reasons for the drop in profitability included strikes and retrenchment costs at South Deep.

After two days of sliding, the rand appears to have settled at around R14.15/$, R15.97/€, and R18.11/£ at 7am on Friday.

laingr@businesslive.co.za