The JSE could open slightly lower again on Thursday, with index heavyweights Naspers and BHP Group set to start the day on the back foot.

Barring Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, which was 0.5% up, Asian stocks were mostly lower by the end of the morning session, taking their cue from US markets, which lost ground overnight.

The Shanghai Composite index was 0.7% down, Korea’s Kospi was 0.4% lower after data showed that economy shrank unexpectedly in the first quarter, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was marginally lower.

Naspers associate Tencent was 0.7% down in Hong Kong and BHP Group was 0.3% lower in Australia.

RDI Reit, which closed 13.8% down on Wednesday after the landlord rejected a takeover offer, is due to publish results for the six months ended February on Thursday morning.

Vunani is scheduled to report results for the year ended February. The group said last week its headline earnings per share had more than doubled.

Stats SA is due to release the producer price index (PPI) for March, construction materials price indices, and trade data.

Later in the day, US jobless claims numbers are due.

The rand strengthened slightly on Thursday morning after losing ground overnight. It was trading at R14.41/$, R18.59/£ and R16.07/€.

“Broad-based gains for the dollar, with the dollar trading close to a two-year high, is turning up the heat for emerging markets with no exception to the rand,” said Bianca Botes, corporate treasury manager at Peregrine Treasury Solutions.

The rand’s technical trading range for Thursday was R14.38-R14.50 versus the dollar, Botes said.