The JSE looks set to open higher on Monday as strong export data from China and healthy earnings from US banks boosted Asian stocks in early trade.

On Friday, China published better-than-expected export data, while strong earnings from JP Morgan and Wells Fargo pointed to a robust US economy. That helped boost the S&P 500 index, which gained 0.7% on Friday. Weekend media reports said the US and China were closer to reaching a trade agreement.

Asian equities got off to a strong start on Monday. The Shanghai Composite index was 1.1% higher before noon, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index 0.5%.

However, Naspers’s main asset, Tencent, was 0.1% down in Hong Kong, and JSE-heavyweight BHP Group was 0.3% lower in Australia.

Meanwhile, MTN could get a boost from its African e-commerce associate, Jumia, which rallied 75% on its first trading day in New York on Friday. That means MTN’s 31% stake in Jumia is worth about R8.5bn.

No major JSE-listed company results are expected on Monday. Statistics SA is due to report tourism and migration numbers for February.

FNB Securities said US earnings releases “are expected to dominate headlines this week with the financial sector expected to deliver a soft performance”.

Results are due from Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank of America, BlackRock, Morgan Stanley and American Express.

The rand was flat on Monday morning at R13.95/$, R18.26/£, and R15.77/€.

“The market’s risk appetite is being driven by an upbeat start to the US earnings season while positive signals from the Chinese economy are also assisting the rand,” said Bianca Botes, corporate treasury manager at Peregrine Treasury Solutions.

The local currency’s technical trading range for Monday was R13.90-R14.08, Botes said.