Picture: 123RF/KASTO
Picture: 123RF/KASTO

SA stocks could get off to a cautious start on Thursday, with Asian markets trading mixed as investors keep their focus on the US’s trade negotiations with major economies.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday moved to restrict Chinese technology giants Huawei and ZTE from selling their equipment in the US, and Huawei was barred from doing business with American companies due to security concerns.

A number of countries have recently raised concerns that China could use Huawei network infrastructure for surveillance.

Trump was also planning measures against automobile exports to the US from the EU and Japan, according to reports.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged 0.2% up on Thursday, while the Shanghai Composite and Australia’s main benchmark both gained 0.3%. But Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.6% and Korea’s Kospi 0.9%.

Tencent, the main asset of JSE heavyweight Naspers, was 0.9% down despite reporting better-than-expected earnings on Wednesday.

BHP Group was 0.6% higher in Australia.

The busy reporting week continues on the JSE, with Investec, Dis-Chem and Datatec due to report annual results on Thursday.

Datatec has said that in the year ended February, it returned to headline profits.

Stats SA is scheduled to report March readings for wholesale trade sales, motor trade sales, private-sector building statistics and civil debt cases.

Traders will also keep an eye on US trade negotiations with Japan and the EU, and on US housing data and initial jobless claims, due later in the day.

The rand was slightly weaker against major currencies on Thursday morning, trading at R14.24/$, R18.31/£ and R15.97/€.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za