The JSE is likely to benefit from optimism on global markets on Thursday morning, with investors piling back into risk assets as concerns of further military conflict in the Middle East recede.

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday no further military action against Iran was planned after a ballistic missile strike against Iraqi bases containing US troops resulted in no casualties.

Markets have largely unwound the risk-off moves that occurred since Friday, when a US drone strike killed a senior Iranian military commander, said National Australia Bank analyst Tapas Strickland in a note.

The Iranian strike was also phrased as being limited and “proportionate”, while the strike itself did little damage to US assets and some geopolitical analysts classed the strike as more symbolic in nature and being a “warning shot” designed not to inflict too much damage on US assets, said Strickland.

Asian markets were higher on Thursday, with Japan’s Nikkei adding 1.96%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1.06%.

Tencent, which influences the JSE via Naspers, rose 1.62%.

Gold was 0.19% higher $1,559.98/oz, having recently risen to an almost seven-year high due to the tension in the Middle East.

Platinum was up 0.66% to $957.23/oz while brent crude edged up 0.12% to $65.90 a barrel.

The rand was 0.15% weaker at $14.1733/$, having firmed 1.07% on Wednesday.

There is little on the local corporate calendar on Thursday, but the release of manufacturing data for November at 1.30pm should get some attention. An annual contraction of about 1.3% is expected, after a 0.8% fall in October.

The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) business confidence index for December is due at 11.30am.


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