Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE opened firmer on Wednesday ahead of the US Federal Reserve's interest rate announcement, and on hopes that the US-China trade conflict would soon reach an end. 

On Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve's federal open market committee is likely to keep rates unchanged despite market expectations for a rate cut; however, the Fed is expected to indicate if it plans to loosen monetary policy later in 2019, Reuters reported. 

European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi said on Tuesday that the ECB may need to cut interest rates should inflation not reach its target. The possibility of loosened monetary policy in the economic bloc and the US pushed the rand to its highest in two weeks against the dollar on Tuesday.

At 10am, the rand had strengthened 0.31% to R14.4787/$, 0.28% to R16.2154/€ and 0.28% to R18.1831/£. 

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite had gained 0.96% and the Hong-Kong Hang Seng 2.38%, after US President Donald Trump said he would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 (G20) summit next week to resume trade talks. Japan's Nikkei 225 had fallen 0.72%. 

By 10am the JSE all share had gained 0.33% to 58,824.70 points and the top 40 0.37%. Banks were up 0.86% and financials 0.7%, while platinum miners had fallen 1.68%.

Absa was up 1.07% to R176.40, Standard Bank 0.97% to R202.29, FirstRand 0.58% to R68.90 and Nedbank 0.56% to R262.58. 

Among rand hedges, British American Tobacco was down 3% to R507.98, AB InBev 1% to R1,247.11 and and Richemont 0.11% to R118.34.

Naspers had gained 0.81% to R3,545, after its Hong-King listed subsidiary Tencent earlier climbed 3.47%.

No major company results were expected on Wednesday. Statistics SA released consumer inflation figures for May showing that the headline inflation rate accelerated 0.1% to 4.5%  year-on-year. 

mjoo@businesslive.co.za