SA stocks are set for a slow start on Monday as caution prevails ahead of highly anticipated trade talks between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping later in the week. 

Their meetings, at the upcoming Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Osaka, come amid simmering tensions in the Middle East after Iran shot down a US drone. Trump responded by approving military action against Iran, but shortly after backed down on that plan.

“At this juncture, we do not anticipate a meaningful US-China trade deal, but any deal potentially involving a stay on fresh tariffs would be interpreted positively by market players,” analysts at Singapore’s OCBC Bank said on Monday.

“Note that Trump is facing external challenges of China, Iran and North Korea ahead of his 2020 election race, so the pressure may be on to keep all three from boiling over in the interim,” the bank said.

Asian markets were mixed on Monday, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index adding 0.2% and the Shanghai Composite edging marginally lower. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, Korea’s Kospi and Australia’s main benchmark were all flat.

Chinese internet and gaming giant Tencent was 0.3% up in Hong Kong. Major shareholder Naspers said on Friday its core headline earnings in the year to end-March rose 26% to $3bn.

JSE-heavyweight BHP Group was 0.2% up in Australia.

JSE-listed landlord Safari Investments is due to report financial statements on Monday. The group has warned that distributions per share will fall by between 24% and 29% for the year to end-March.

Invicta Holdings is also expected to report.

Statistics SA is due to publish tourism and migration data for April, as well as statistics of liquidations and insolvencies for May.

The rand was broadly flat on Monday morning, trading at R14.30/$, R18.24/£, and R16.27/€.