Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE was firmer on Thursday afternoon, led higher by Naspers, as markets eyed the UK elections and developments in the US-China trade war.

European markets traded cautiously on Thursday morning, as investors digested the US Federal Reserve (Fed) policy statement overnight.

The Fed kept interest rates unchanged as expected, with the market now also betting they will remain unchanged throughout 2020. Fed chair Jerome Powell emphasised the strong state of economy, as well as the persistently low inflation, as reasons for the decision.

UK voters head to polls on Thursday for the second general election since voting to leave the EU in 2016, the election could be of crucial importance for the fate of Brexit and the country's economic policy, reported CNBC.

With December 15 nearing, investors are closely monitoring the trade negotiations deadline between the US and China for new tariffs negotiations on $160bn in Chinese goods.

Earlier, data indicated that mining production fell 2.9% in October year on year, slightly worse than the 2.6% expected in the Bloomberg consensus.

Producer inflation for the same month was due at 1pm.

At 12.03pm, the all share was up 0.39% to 55,985.8 points, while the top 40 had risen 0.38%. Industrials were up 0.58% and platinum miners 2.07%.

Gold was flat at $1,473.82/oz, while platinum had added 0.31% to $941.72. Brent crude had risen 0.44% to $64.14 a barrel.

The rand strengthened against the US dollar, up 0.21% to R14.647/$.

Naspers was up 1.73% to R2,085.40, tracking a 2.65% rise in Tencent earlier.