Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE opened slightly lower on Wednesday, with indices mixed, as global markets wait for a fresh catalyst in the US-China trade conflict.

The dispute between China and the US has dampened sentiment, as traders anxiously await the next development.

“Traders are waiting for the next chapter in the unfolding trade drama. Sentiment remains fragile as investors digest the changing face of the trade dispute from broad sweeping tariffs to direct action against single Chinese companies,” said London Capital Group analyst Jasper Lawler. Some investors are clinging to the hope that a US-China trade deal can still be achieved, most likely at the G-20 [Group of 20] meeting at the end of June.”

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The Shanghai Composite index earlier closed 0.49% lower, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng gained 0.16%. 

At 10am, the all share index had fallen 0.39% to 55,308 points and the top 40 was down 0.47%. 

General retailers were up 1.06%, paring Tuesday’s losses. Gold miners gained 0.83% and banks 0.88%. Resources fell 1.85% and property 0.94%.

Naspers was flat at R3,212.36 after Hong Kong-listed Tencent fell 0.70% earlier. 

Furniture retailer Lewis climbed 4.28% to R33.89, the company reported earlier that its credit sales rose 8.1% for the year to end-March. Lewis’s total dividend increased by 17% to 234c per share. 

Tiger Brands gained 0.34% to R230.78, despite the company reporting that revenue from continuing operations fell by 2% to R15.4bn for the six months ended March. 

Sasol fell 12.81% to R375.80, after the company said its chemicals project in the US could cost as much as $1.1bn (R15.9bn) more than it expected just three months ago.

Statistics SA released consumer inflation figures on Wednesday morning that showed that consumer inflation decelerated by 0.1 percentage point from March to 4.4% in April. 

mjoo@businesslive.co.za