Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE could get off to a cautious start on Friday, with Asian markets trading mixed and ahead of a sovereign ratings update for SA.

Global markets remained under pressure on Friday on concerns that the trade war between the US and China is likely to drag on indefinitely. There are also growing fears that the dispute is morphing into a technology war.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 0.2% higher, though mainland Chinese stocks were lower and Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.5%. Korea’s Kospi was 0.8% down, as was Australia’s main benchmark.

Chinese technology and gaming giant Tencent was 0.3% up in Hong Kong after sliding since Wednesday last week. That could take the pressure off major shareholder and JSE-heavyweight Naspers on Friday.

The top 40 index’s third biggest constituent, BHP Group, was flat in Australia.

While no major data releases are expected in SA on Friday, S&P Global Ratings (S&P) is scheduled to provide an update on SA’s sovereign credit rating.

But investors are more concerned about future ratings updates from Moody’s Investors Service.

Moody’s is the only major rating agency that has not already downgraded SA’s sovereign debt to subinvestment grade. Both Fitch Ratings and S&P lowered the country’s sovereign debt to below investment grade in 2017, following a surprise cabinet reshuffle by former president Jacob Zuma.

The rand was flat on Friday morning at R14.48/$, R18.34/£ and R16.19/€.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za