Picture: 123RF/SOLARSEVEN
Picture: 123RF/SOLARSEVEN

The JSE could take its lead from firmer Asian markets on Wednesday morning, with an almost 1% gain by Chinese tech-giant Tencent likely to bolster the local bourse.

Although fears over the coronavirus has hit manufacturers and travel stocks as people stay home,  the tech giant owns the popular WeChat app and computer games. Naspers, Africa's largest company by market capitalisation, is the largest single shareholder of Tencent.

Vestact analysts have also noted that “big data” and cloud computing are still in their early days, and the share prices of companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Tencent and Alibaba have all recently risen.

In morning trade on Wednesday the Shanghai Composite was up 0.3% and the Hang Seng 0.44%. Japan's Nikkei had recovered 0.96%.

Data earlier showed that Japanese exports in January fell less than expected.

Gold was flat at $1,601.56/oz while platinum had jumped 1.27% to $1,000. Brent crude had risen 1.2% to $58.34 a barrel.

The rand had firmed 0.2% to R14.97/$.

Locally, inflation data for January is due later, and is expected to show a slight acceleration from December’s annualised 4% rise.

A series of corporate updates are also due, including full-year results from Sibanye-Stillwater. The miner recently said surging precious metal prices have ensured it had beaten its debt-reduction targets for the period.

Distribution group Bidcorp is expected to report later that headline earnings per share from total operations rose as much as 6% in its half-year ended December, with the company saying that business conditions remained challenging in many of its markets. 

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za

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