The JSE was on track for its first weekly loss in four on Friday morning, breaking its longest weekly winning streak since September, as tension between the US and Iran placed pressure on global markets.

However, markets gradually recovered after US President Donald Trump signalled that the US would not resort to military action against Iran but would likely impose sanctions.

Fear that tension in the Middle East could escalate saw investors shy away from riskier assets earlier this week. That followed an Iranian missile attack on US forces in Iraq on Wednesday after the killing of a top Iranian commander during a US air strike last week.

Investors also took heart after China confirmed that the phase-one trade deal would be signed in Washington next week.

Focus will shift to US nonfarm payrolls for December later in the day as the data is seen as a crucial indicator of the state of the US economy.

“The key takeaway will likely be that the US economy is still ‘in a good place’ as the labour market remains resilient during a record 11th year of expansion. With much of Wall Street surging to record highs, the biggest risk for stocks is if we see a surprise pickup with inflation that shifts the scales for the Fed’s next move to be tightening rates,” Oanda senior market analyst Edward Moya said.

Earlier, the Shanghai Composite was flat while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.19% and Japan's Nikkei 225 0.47%. 

At 10.20am, the JSE all share was up 0.48% to 57,405 points and the top 40 0.53%. The index is down 0.76% so far this week. Banks added 0.63% and industrials 0.92%. 

Packaging and paper company Mondi group said on Friday that its CEO, Peter Oswald, would be stepping down at the end of March. The company said its CFO Andrew King will step in as interim-CEO. Its share price was down 1.29% to R313.26


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