Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

The JSE edged lower on Tuesday morning, as caution prevailed ahead of Wednesday's budget policy statement.

The closure of US markets on Monday had subdued trade, but local focus is squarely on the state of the government's finances.

Details on the future of, and funding for, SA's embattled state owned enterprises is expected from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, as SA struggles to hold on to its last remaining investment grade sovereign rating — from agency Moody's.

LISTEN: What to expect from this year's National Budget: 

At 10am the all share was down 0.28% at 55,107.6 points while the top 40 had lost 0.32%. Banks had given up 0.72% and the resources index 0.44%.

International focus is on forthcoming US-China trade talks, which begin in Washington on Thursday. Analysts said the forthcoming talks were supporting global risk sentiment.

Miners led the losses on Tuesday morning, as investors digested a series of earnings reports.

Diversified miner BHP led the losses, falling 1.93% to R320.98. This was despite the JSE-heavyweight reporting that interim headline earnings per share (HEPS) to end-December more than doubled to 81.9 US cents versus the prior comparative period.

Kumba Iron Ore fell 1.01% to R382.58. It earlier reported a slight decrease in revenue for the year to end-December. Its dividend was slightly lower as well, at R30.21 per share, from the prior period's R30.97.

AngloGold Ashanti lost 0.41% to R196, having earlier reported that HEPS jumped to 53 US cents in the six months to end-December, from 6c in the prior comparative period.

Gold was flat at $1,3125.76/oz while platinum was up 0.21% at $807.65. Brent crude was little changed at $66.52 a barrel.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za