Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE was firmer on Tuesday morning, taking its lead from stronger US and Asian markets, with banks faring best.

US markets continue to push higher, boosted recently by upbeat corporate updates, helping offset concerns over the coronavirus.

Even though the death toll from the virus is climbing, markets are enthused by the continued outperformance of US equities as the S&P 500 lurched higher, propelled by technology stocks, which are, ostensibly, unaffected by the outbreak, said RMB analyst Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana.

Asian markets rallied as China’s factories re-opened after an extended Lunar New Year, though some factories are struggling to re-open as viral outbreak persists.

There were 2,478 new confirmed cases on the mainland by Monday, down from 3,062 the previous day, bringing the total to more than 43,000. It was the second time in two weeks that authorities recorded a daily drop in new cases, offering a hint of hope the epidemic is peaking, reported Reuters.

Earlier, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.39%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 1.26%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.60%.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 had gained 0.62%, Germany’s DAX 30 0.97% and France’s CAC 40 0.63% up.

Locally, investors will watch the state of the nation address (Sona) on Thursday with an expectation that President Cyril Ramaphosa may provide a way forward with struggling state-owned power utility Eskom, or announce economic growth-boosting efforts.

At 10.44am, the JSE all share was up 0.28% to 57,009.49 points, and has gained 1.79% so far this week, but has lost 0.39% this year. The top 40 had gained 0.38%, banks 0.45% and financials 0.33%.

Platinum miners were down 0.15% and the gold index 1.62%.

Gold was down 0.23% at $1,567.93/oz, while platinum had gained 0.34% to $962.24. Brent crude was up 1.09% to $53.94 a barrel.

Local manufacturing data for December 2019 and fourth-quarter unemployment numbers are due later. Manufacturing is expected to have fallen by an annualised 4% in the last month of 2019 when energy-intensive sectors were battered by load-shedding

tsobol@businesslive.co.za