FILE PHOTO: A worker sweeps in front of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 23, 2016. Picture: REUTERS / PHILIMON BULAWAYO
FILE PHOTO: A worker sweeps in front of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 23, 2016. Picture: REUTERS / PHILIMON BULAWAYO

The JSE followed Asian markets higher on Friday morning, with Naspers edging back towards its recent highs thanks to its investment in Hong Kong-listed Tencent.

Naspers was 0.91% up at R3,172.79, close to its best level since late August 2018. Tencent was 0.4% higher.

Gains were registered across all major indices bar the resources index, which was flat. The JSE’s top-40 index added 0.52% and the all-share index 0.46%.

Asian stocks were buoyed by renewed commitments by the Chinese government to boost growth, with the Shanghai Composite Index 1% up in late afternoon trade. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was 0.6% higher and the Nikkei 225 was 0.8% better.

Asian markets were also boosted by China’s approval of a new law against the forced transfer of technology by foreign companies, Anchor Capital said.

This was despite a flat trading session for US markets on Thursday following reports that US president Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, had postponed their trade discussion until at least April.

This implied that market volatility would be prolonged, GT247.com said on Friday.

Gold was 0.6% up at $1,303.96/oz and platinum 1.16% to $833.06. Brent crude was up 0.69% to $67.60 a barrel.

On the JSE, miner Royal Bafokeng Platinum was 6.2% down at R30.04.

African Rainbow Capital Investments, which closed 4% higher on Thursday after reporting its interim financial statements, was another 5.2% up at R5.25.

Retailer Woolworths added 1.29% to R45.51.

The rand, meanwhile, was firmer on Friday morning.

The local currency was 0.62% better against the dollar at R14.44/$. It was up 0.78% versus the pound at R19.12/£ and 0.43% against the euro at R16.36/€.

“The rand will take its cue from movements overseas but be wary of the current load-shedding schedule as this could affect the rand adversely should it continue for a couple of weeks,” said Andre Botha, senior dealer at TreasuryOne.

Mercato Financial Services analyst Nico du Plessis said the local currency was vulnerable to another global economic downturn.

“The rand will find it progressively more difficult to sustain bouts of appreciation,” Du Plessis said.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za