A pro-Brexit supporter demonstrates in central London as Britain faces an uncertain split from the EU. Picture: REUTERS/DYLAN MARTINEZ
A pro-Brexit supporter demonstrates in central London as Britain faces an uncertain split from the EU. Picture: REUTERS/DYLAN MARTINEZ

The JSE could struggle with direction on Thursday morning after British parliamentarians voted to reject a UK breakaway from the EU without a deal in place, adding to the uncertainty in global markets.

Asian stocks had a mixed trading session on Thursday morning, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index 0.03% lower at the lunch break and Japan’s Nikkei 225 index 0.2% up.

Shares in Tencent, which is 31%-owned by JSE heavyweight Naspers, were 0.2% lower in Hong Kong, while BHP Group’s stock was 0.5% up in Australia.

On Wednesday night, British members of parliament narrowly voted to reject a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances. They will decide on Thursday whether to ask Europe to extend the timeline for Brexit, an outcome that could prolong the uncertainty hanging over global markets.

JSE-listed companies due to report annual results for 2018 on Thursday include shopping-centre owner Capital & Regional, coal and heavy-mineral group Exxaro, and Metair, which provides energy storage and automotive components.

Exxaro said earlier in March that excluding non-recurring transactions, core headline earnings per share for the year ended December would be between R20.73 and R22.15 a share, an increase of between 3% and 10%. The coal business had benefited from higher selling prices, it said.

Metair said its headline earnings per share for the year ended December would be between 14% and 17% higher than in 2017.

The rand was marginally weaker versus the dollar and the euro in early trade, at R14.44/$ and R16.34/€.

Against the pound, it was 0.5% firmer at R19.12.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za