Picture: 123RF/KASTO
Picture: 123RF/KASTO

The JSE is likely to take its lead from weaker Asian markets on Friday morning, with investors waiting for a Chinese response to the US stance on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

US President Donald Trump has signed a bill into law that provides for an annual review of Hong Kong’s trading relationship, an issue which may provoke intransigence from Beijing during trade talks.

While the Hong Kong bill is providing poor optics, signing the deal into law was expected, said AxiTrader chief Asian market strategist Stephen Innes in a note.

It had, however, now left investors speculating on the “resolute countermeasure” China will take, and whether it would be enough to damage trade talks, said Innes.

In morning trade Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down almost 2%, while the Shanghai Composite had lost 0.64%.

Tencent had slumped 2.37%, boding ill for market heavyweight Naspers, which is the largest shareholder of the WeChat owner.

Gold was up 0.16% at $1,458.10/oz while platinum had firmed 0.3% to $895.07. Brent crude was 0.44% weaker at $62.96 a barrel.

The rand was 0.1% softer at R14.7177/$.

Locally, balance of trade figures for October are due later, though it is rather a quiet day in terms of international economic releases.

Mettle Investments is due to report later that headline earnings per share more than doubled in its six months to end-August.