The JSE could take its lead from subdued Asian markets on Wednesday morning, with investors waiting for further developments in the US-China trade war.

The US Congress has endorsed a bill supporting human rights in Hong Kong, though US President Donald Trump has not yet signed it, with the issue a possible sticking point in the trade conflict.

Market activity could be subdued further as Thursday is a public holiday in the US.

“However with President Trump expected to make a decision on the Hong Kong bill and trade headlines ramping up, we would not be surprised if low liquidity during the holidays led to an expansion in volatility,” said BK Asset Management MD for foreign exchange strategy Kathy Lien.

At 6.10am the Shanghai composite was up 0.15% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat.

Gold was 0.15% weaker at $1,459.34 an ounce while platinum had fallen 0.3% to $903.82. Brent crude was little changed at $64.09 a barrel.

The rand was little changed at $14.8084 a dollar.

Tencent was up 0.4% in Hong Kong.

Local focus on Wednesday is on fourth-quarter business confidence numbers. In the third quarter business confidence had fallen to a two-decade low.

In corporate news, Nampak is expected to report later that headline earnings per share (heps) from continuing operations declined almost three quarters. The company has also suffered a hefty foreign-exchange loss in Zimbabwe, where hyperinflation has returned.

Taste Holdings is set to release its interim results to end-August later, though it has not issued a trading statement, implying heps has not moved in a range of more than 20%. The company is seeking to channel capital into Burger King, recently striking deals to dispose of Starbucks, as well as Maxi’s and the Fish & Chips Co.


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