Global markets may not provide the JSE with a clear direction on Wednesday morning, with stocks mixed after what has been a volatile start to the week.

US President Donald Trump has proposed payroll tax cuts to offset the effects of the coronavirus. The exact formulation of a fiscal package is yet to be determined, but markets are also aggressively pricing in further interest rate cuts from the US Federal Reserve, National Australia Bank analyst Tapas Strickland said in a note.

Asian markets were mixed on Wednesday morning, with the Shanghai Composite up 0.32%, while Japan’s Nikkei had lost 1.52%.

Tencent, of which Naspers is the largest shareholder, was down 0.26%.

Gold was up 0.55% to $1,658.73/oz while platinum rose 0.6% to $873.70/oz. Brent crude was 1.45% higher at $38.43 a barrel, having jumped 13.32% on Tuesday.

The rand was flat at R15.94/$.

There is little on the local economic calendar on Wednesday, but in corporate news, Absa is expected to release its full-year results later in the day. It has not issued a trading statement, implying headline earnings per share (HEPS) have not moved in a range of 20% or more.

HEPS are a widely used profit measure in SA that strips out one-off items.

Ascendis Health is expected to report a considerable rise in financial costs in the half year to end-December. The group incurred large consulting fees related to its plans to dispose of its Cyprus-based Remedica unit.

ELB group, a provider of capital equipment and engineering services, is also set to release full-year results; it has also not issued a trading statement.