Picture: 123RF/SOLARSEVEN
Picture: 123RF/SOLARSEVEN

The JSE firmed a little on Friday morning, on track to snap a four-week losing streak, with risk assets finding some favour ahead of a pivotal speech by US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell.

Markets are betting on at least two more 25 basis point cuts from the Fed, and investors are waiting to see if Powell may flag downside risks to the US economy in his address at the Jackson Hole conference in Wyoming.

Fed minutes from their July meeting were a little less dovish than expected, although they also showed division among policy makers.

“There has been so much made about Powell's appearance today that he's going to have to put on the performance of a lifetime just to avoid disappointing the crowd and leaving to a chorus of boos,” Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said in a note.

There is nothing on the local economic calendar on Friday, with all eyes on the speech, expected to begin at 4pm SA time, meaning that local stocks will have time to react to Powell's comments.

At 9.33am the all share was up 0.28% at 54,338.5 points and the top 40 0.37%. Industrials had added 0.44%. Gold miners had lost 1.55% and platinum 1.37%.

Gold was down 0.19% to $1,495.35/oz while platinum was flat at $859.37/oz. Brent crude was 0.13% higher at $60.04 a barrel.

Major European markets were firmer, with the FTSE 100 up 0.61%, the CAC 40 0.42% and the DAX 30 0.55%.

Naspers was up 0.78% to R3,456.46, tracking earlier gains in Hong Kong-listed Tencent.

Diversified miner Glencore was up 1.22% to R42.99 and Anglo American 1.12% to R314.48.

AngloGold Ashanti had lost 1.73% to R324 while Sibanye gave up 2.44% to R19.61.

Northam lost 1.98% to R58.52, despite earlier reporting a record operating profit of R2.4bn for the year to end-June.

Old Mutual gave up 0.88% to R18.12, on Thursday it announced it had once again served a dismissal notice on former CEO Peter Moyo.

Momentum Metropolitan Holdings fell 0.7% to R15.68. It said earlier that it expected a 65% to 85% jump in headline earnings per share for the year to end-June.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za