Picture: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID
Picture: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID

The JSE could take its lead from weaker Asian markets on Wednesday morning, amid continued uncertainty over how the UK’s exit from the EU will proceed.

News on Tuesday was mixed, with the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson winning support for his withdrawal agreement, but not on his timetable, making Britain’s departure on October 31 look unlikely.

It is unclear what will happen next, including the length of any Brexit extension that may be granted by the EU, while there is also the chance of a new general election.

The pound was under pressure on Tuesday, while the rand firmed, along with other emerging market currencies.

“We can probably say that downside pound risk still look limited given a hard Brexit looks unlikely, but on the upside further pound gains may take a bit longer to play out,” said National Australia Bank analyst Rodrigo Catril in a note.

“There are still plenty of potential Brexit twists ahead.”

Asian markets were lower on Wednesday, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down almost 1% as of 6.30am.

Brent oil had fallen 0.3% to $59.42 a barrel. Gold was up 0.14% to $1,489.54/oz while platinum was flat at $892.05.

Chine media giant Tencent was down almost 2%, with Bloomberg reporting that without any trigger for the drop evident, theories included souring Chinese investor sentiment, as well as Tencent’s decision to air US National Basketball Association (NBA) games.

The NBA is in the spotlight in the US over its links to China, amid clashes between authorities and prodemocracy activists in Hong Kong.

Tencent’s drop bodes ill for Naspers and Prosus.

Local focus is on inflation data for September later. The consensus is for 4.3%, unchanged from the previous month, and below the midpoint of the Reserve Bank’s target range of 3% to 6%.

However, the corporate calendar is light. Stolen-vehicle recovery company Cartrack is expected to say later that headline earnings per share rose in a range of 20% to 30% in its six months to end-August, amid robust subscriber growth. 

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za