The JSE will get little direction from Asian markets on Wednesday morning, with stocks showing little reaction to an emergency 50 basis point rate cut from the US Federal Reserve on Tuesday.

Markets had largely priced in the cut, analysts said, while concern over the economic effects of the coronavirus persist.

Central banks could not force people into shopping malls or into planes, said AxiCorp chief market strategist Stephen Innes in a note, adding that there was debate about the merit of the rate cut.

“But from my perspective, the swift and decisive move was a necessary measure to support the equity markets which were entering a death spiral and demanded an urgent response,” Innes said.

In morning trade on Wednesday the Shanghai Composite was flat, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng had gained 0.12%.

Tencent, which influences the JSE via major shareholder Naspers, had fallen 0.15%.

Gold was little changed at $1,641.59/oz while platinum had added 1.35% to $887.73/oz. Brent crude was 1.84% higher at $52.64 a barrel.

The rand was 0.36% firmer at R15.35/$.

Locally, Standard Bank’s purchasing managers’ index for February is due later.

In corporate news, Murray & Roberts is expected to report a fall in profits for its half-year to end-December, saying in a recent trading update that interest expenses had risen.

Packaging manufacturer Mpact is expected to report significant write-downs in it year to end-December later, saying that the trading environment in which it operates has deteriorated, partially due to overcapacity in some sectors, as well as an unreliable electricity supply.

Shipping group Grindrod is expected to report a strong performance in its full-year to end-December later, saying in a recent trading update Maputo Port achieved record volumes during the year.


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