Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE was firmer on Tuesday morning, benefiting from slightly firmer global markets and a marginally firmer rand, on both Monday and Tuesday.

Local markets were closed on Monday for the Youth Day public holiday, and while most global equity markets had pushed higher, trade was expected to be cautious on Tuesday.

All eyes are on the US Federal Reserve's interest rate announcement on Wednesday, amid speculation that the Fed will cut interest rates in order to stimulate flagging economic growth in the world's largest economy.

Local banks and financial stocks were benefiting a little from a slight pullback in the dollar, which should be expected ahead of the Fed announcement, Peregrine Treasury Solutions corporate treasury manager Bianca Botes said. As ever, the US-China trade war headlines could upset this trend, she said.

At 10am the rand was 0.12% firmer at R14.7916/$, benefiting interest-rate-sensitive shares such as banks and retailers. Reports on Tuesday also suggested the SA Reserve Bank was ready to cut interest rates.

The all share was up 0.59% to 58,539.8 points. Food and drug retailers had added 1.84%, banks 1.72%, general retailers 1.63% and financials 1.39%.

Gold was up 0.4% to $1,344.99/oz and platinum 0.42% to $797.32. Brent crude was down 0.62% to $60.59 a barrel.

Local focus is on Wednesday's inflation data, which is expected to show that the annual inflation rate stayed at 4.4% in May, below the mid point of the 3%-6% target range, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. The figure will be closely watched ahead of the Reserve Bank meeting in mid July.

The local corporate calendar was somewhat busy, with MultiChoice and Steinhoff expected to report later.

The group has warned that its reported net asset value per share was expected to fall 23.4% to 27%.

British American Tobacco was down 2.04% to R528.37.

Brait was unchanged at R17.64 ahead of its results to end-March later. The group has warned that its reported net asset value per share was expected to fall between 23.4% and 27%.

Standard Bank was up 1.9% to R199.64.

Old Mutual had added 0.78% to R21.86. It said earlier that CEO Peter Moyo had been fired, citing conflicts of interest.

Alexander Forbes had added 2.3% to R5.78. It said earlier that headline earnings per share fell 1% to 44c in the year to end-March, while operating income for the group rose 6% year on year.

MultiChoice had added 1.55% to R129.99, ahead of its results for the year to end-March, later. It said previously that core headline earnings per share in the year rose between 8% and 12% in the period

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za