Picture: GALLO IMAGES/AFP/JAY DIRECTO
Picture: GALLO IMAGES/AFP/JAY DIRECTO

Easing global political risks and news that the US and China will resume trade talks boosted Asian markets on Thursday morning, boding well for the JSE on a busy day for corporate releases.

Chinese and US officials plan to hold high-level talks in Washington in early October, with Dow Jones Newswires reporting that parties intend a series of mid-level talks for September to set the ground work for a deal.

Political risks have also eased in Europe and Asia, with the UK parliament blocking a no-deal Brexit, while the Italian president has given permission for a new coalition government, ending the prospect of a turbulent election in Europe’s fourth-largest economy.

Hong Kong authorities have also withdrawn a contentious extradition bill that had sparked weeks of protests in the financial hub.

Asian markets were sharply higher on Thursday morning, with the Shanghai Composite up 1.58%.

Tencent, of which JSE heavyweight Naspers holds a sizable chunk, was up 1% in Hong Kong.

Gold had slipped 0.5% to $1,544.44/oz, while platinum was flat at $986.15. Brent crude was 0.18% higher at $60.60 a barrel.

The rand extended its gains, pushing to R14.75/$ as of 6.30am, its best level in over a month.

Short-term strength is certainly dominating the market, but a bias back to R15.50/$ in the medium term remains, said Peregrine Treasury Solutions corporate treasury manager Bianca Botes in a note.

The corporate calendar is busy, with Impala Platinum expected to report that rising prices of platinum-group metals and higher sales volumes resulted in a 518% surge in gross profit to R6.8bn for the year to-end June. 

FirstRand is expected to report its results for the year to end-June, but has not released a trading statement, implying that headline earnings per share (Heps) has not moved in a range exceeding 20%. In the prior financial year it declared a final dividend of 275c a share, up almost 8% year on year.

Assore is expected to say later that Heps has risen by between 20% and 28% in its year to end-June, boosted by higher iron ore prices.

Property group Hyprop, which is in the midst of reducing its exposure to African investments, is due to report its results to end-June later. In the previous financial year, it upped its distribution 8.7% to 756.5c a share.

Property group Fairvest, which recently terminated its merger plans with Safari by mutual agreement, is also expected to release its results to end-June. It has not released a trading statement, but in the previous year it upped its distribution 9.91% to 20.15c a share.

Private equity investment company Universal Partners is expected to release its results to end-June, but has not released a trading statement. It reported in May, however, that its net asset value per share for the nine months to end-March rose 3.6% to £1.07.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za