Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The JSE is likely to open stronger on Friday morning, with major Asian stock markets heading for a positive end to the week.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was up 0.3% at the lunch break, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 1.1%.

Stocks were buoyed by a rally in China after indexing group MSCI said it would increase the proportion of mainland Chinese stocks in its global benchmarks, Reuters reported.

Asian markets were also benefiting from upbeat Japanese manufacturing figures, Anchor Capital said in a note.

Naspers’s main asset, Tencent, was 0.5% higher in Hong Kong, while JSE heavyweight BHP Group was marginally lower in Australia.

MTN’s JSE-listed shares are likely to react to a trading update the mobile operator published after the market’s close on Thursday.

The group said headline earnings per share (HEPS) in the year to end-December would be between 80% and 90% higher than in 2017, or between 328c and 346c, despite its troubles in Nigeria. However, some analysts had expected a bigger increase.

Early on Friday, Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Minerals reported a 13% increase in headline earnings to R2.2bn for the six months to end-December.

Distell Group, which makes wines and spirits, reported a net profit for the same period of R1.3bn, up 5%.

On the local data front, SA’s manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) and new vehicle sales data for January are due on Friday.

The rand was 0.08% firmer against the dollar at R14.08/$ in early trade. It was 0.10% stronger against the pound at R18.66/£, and 0.09% up against the euro at R16.01/€.