A trader works at his desk at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany. Picture: REUTERS
A trader works at his desk at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany. Picture: REUTERS

The JSE could take its lead from firmer Asian markets on Friday morning, with riskier assets still in favour even as the markets consider a sharp rise in coronavirus cases this week.

The number of cases has surged this week after Chinese authorities changed their reporting methodology, leading to a 50% rise in the number of cases in the province of Hubei — the centre of the outbreak.

Even with that, the market impact was little more than a pause in the general bullish upward trend rather than risk-off,” said AxiCorp chief market strategist Stephen Innes in a note.

Locally, all eyes were on the state of the nation address on Thursday, which comes ahead of the budget speech later in February.

Though the speech was uplifting, there was little detail in terms of actual implementation of policy promises, said Intellidex head of market research Peter Attard Montalto in a note.

The rand remained flat throughout the address, after trading sideways for the most part of Thursday, said Peregrine Treasury Solutions treasury partner Bianca Botes in a note.

In morning trade the Shanghai Composite was up 0.5% while the Hang Seng had risen 0.68%.

Tencent, which influences Naspers, had risen 0.7%.

Gold was flat at $1,574.40/oz while platinum had risen 0.52% to $971/oz. Brent crude was down 0.32% to $56.26 a barrel.

The rand was 0.2% firmer at R14.93/$.

Property group Resilient is expected to report on its second-half earning later, while there are no major domestic economic releases.

Internationally, eurozone GDP data for the fourth quarter and US retail numbers for January should get some attentions.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za

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