Asian stocks edged slightly higher following news that the US will temporarily allow China’s Huawei to keep doing business in the country. Picture: SUPPLIED
Asian stocks edged slightly higher following news that the US will temporarily allow China’s Huawei to keep doing business in the country. Picture: SUPPLIED

SA’s main stock exchange could get off to a slow start on Wednesday as Asian markets edge slightly higher following news that the US will temporarily allow China’s Huawei to keep doing business in the country.

This led to a slight improvement in risk sentiment after US President Donald Trump last week blacklisted Huawei from the American market, further escalating trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

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Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was 0.3% up on Wednesday, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 was 0.1% higher and Korea’s Kospi added 0.2%.

China’s Shanghai Composite and Australia’s main benchmark were both flat.

China’s Tencent was 0.8% lower in Hong Kong amid a downturn in technology stocks that was sparked by the Huawei ban. That implies a weak start for major shareholder and JSE heavyweight Naspers on Wednesday.

JSE-listed BHP Group was flat in Australia.

Food producer Tiger Brands, which faces a class-action lawsuit relating to the deadly 2018 listeriosis outbreak, is due to report half-year results on Wednesday. 

Furniture retailer Lewis Group is scheduled to report annual results. It said last week earnings rose by up to a quarter in the year to end-March thanks in part to the recovery of its traditional store brands.

Meanwhile, Stats SA is due to publish the consumer price index (CPI) for April. The CPI is expected to print at 4.5% year on year in April, unchanged from March, according to a Bloomberg consensus. 

On Thursday, the SA Reserve Bank will announce its latest stance on monetary policy. Rates are expected to be left unchanged.

The rand was slightly weaker on Wednesday morning at R14.41/$, R18.31/£ and R16.07/€.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za