Picture: Russel Roberts
Picture: Russel Roberts

The JSE looked set for a subdued day of trading on Friday, having to contend with a stable rand and softening commodity prices.

Asian markets were mixed on Friday morning, with investors digesting signs of slowing global growth and the prospect of renewed trade tensions, this time between the EU and the US.

US President Donald Trump has threatened tariffs on $11bn worth of EU goods citing subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

Markets in mainland China were lower after reports that the Chinese government was growing concerned about the pace of a recent equity rally, and may pare recent stimulus.

At 6.20am SA time the Shanghai Composite was down 0.36% and the Hang Seng 0.44%, while Japan's Nikkei was up 0.44%.

The rand was mixed, up 0.17% to R13.9843/$ but down 0.14% to R15.7871/€. It was flat at R18.2788/£.

Gold and platinum were flat at $1,291.98/oz and $892.38 respectively. Brent crude was flat at $70.98 a barrel.

The JSE all share needs to give up 0.71% on Friday in order to close lower for the week, and snap four weeks of gains.

Market heavyweight Naspers could trade lower, with Tencent, of which it owns 31%, down almost 1% in trade on the Hang Seng.

The recent winning streak for the local bourse has been driven partially by miners, who were on the receiving end of bad news on Thursday.

Locally, mining output plummeted to its lowest level in three years. Production in the sector slumped 7.5% year on year in February, with gold output plunging almost 21%. Manufacturing production also surprised to the downside, falling 1.8% year on year, compared to market expectations of a drop of 1.4%.

There is little scheduled local corporate or economic news on Friday. Some direction could come from eurozone industrial production data for March, due at 11.30am SA time.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za