Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE was firmer on Friday morning but was still on track for its biggest weekly loss since August as the fear of a potential global pandemic weighed on markets.

The local bourse picked up on Friday after ending the past four days in negative territory due to concern about the coronavirus outbreak in China.

“Market participants are taking heart from China’s efforts to lock down the epicentre of the outbreak by imposing travel curbs on seven cities and the World Health Organisation who held back from labelling the situation as a global health emergency,” said FXTM market analyst Han Tan said.

Reuters reported on Friday that the death toll had climbed to 25 and the number of cases reported was now 800. China has since suspended public transport in 10 cities.  

Earlier, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.15% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 0.13%, while the Shanghai Composite was closed for Chinese New Year.  

At 10.54am, the JSE all share added 0.74% to 57,315.8 points and the top 40 0.79%. Resources were up 0.92% and banks 0.51%.

Sasol said on Friday that the damage from an explosion that occurred earlier in January at its Lake Charles facility seems to be limited to a small portion of the low-density polyethylene unit. Sasol’s share price climbed 5.39% to R274.

mjoo@businesslive.co.za