Jerome Powell, chair of the US Federal Reserve, said this week the Fed is unlikely to cut interest rates any time soon, causing the dollar to strengthen at the rand's expense. Picture: AARON BERNSTEIN/BLOOMBERG
Jerome Powell, chair of the US Federal Reserve, said this week the Fed is unlikely to cut interest rates any time soon, causing the dollar to strengthen at the rand's expense. Picture: AARON BERNSTEIN/BLOOMBERG

The JSE could open slightly lower on Friday as investors globally trade with caution ahead of US labour market data due later in the day.

Risk appetite “has turned more sober” after US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said a rate cut is unlikely while also commenting on the “transient” inflation trajectory of the world’s largest economy, analysts at OCBC Bank said on Friday.

Investors now await US nonfarm payroll, unemployment and wage data.

Markets were likely to open mixed after US stocks retreated overnight and with Chinese and Japanese markets still closed, OCBC said.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was flat at the lunch break, while South Korea’s Kospi was 0.6% down and Singapore’s main benchmark declined 0.3%. On the other hand, Australia’s main index was up 0.2%.

Tencent’s stock was 0.7% lower in Hong Kong, suggesting a weak opening for major shareholder and JSE-heavyweight Naspers.

BHP Group, which has been on a losing streak since April 9, was 0.1% lower in Australia.

No major data releases or company results are expected in SA on Friday, as the country’s election looms large. The governing ANC is expected to retain its majority following the vote next Wednesday.

The rand, which broke through the R14.50/$ mark on Thursday afternoon as the dollar strengthened, was flat on Friday morning at R14.53/$, R18.95/£, and R16.23/€.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za