Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE could take its lead from positive Asian markets on Wednesday morning, with the focus still squarely on the coronavirus outbreak and responses by governments to shore up their economies.

The White House has proposed a $1-trillion stimulus package that could include $1,000 direct payments to households, as well as support for various industries. The US Federal Reserve is expected to further discuss its forecasts and strategy tonight, said Peregrine Treasury Solutions treasury partner Bianca Botes in a note. This follows its recent flurry of stimulus measures, including the most recent interest rate cut, that have been largely ineffective in curbing the panic in the market, she said.

In morning trade on Wednesday the Shanghai Composite was up 1.26% while the Hang Seng was flat. Tencent, the Chinese media giant of which Naspers is the largest single shareholder, had fallen 0.46%.

Gold was up 0.12% to $1,530/oz while platinum rose 1.73% to $674.50. Brent crude rose 1.18% to $29.16 a barrel.

The rand was 0.18% weaker at R16.57/$.

Locally, inflation data for February and retail sales numbers for January are due later, although this could take a back seat to the coronavirus. The Reserve Bank is expected to announce its interest rate decision on Thursday, and could follow other central banks in cutting rates.

Consumer goods group Libstar is expected to report that profit margins improved across its operations in its year to end-December. Automotive supplier Metair is also expected to release results for its year to end-December later, although it has not issued a trading statement, implying headline earnings have not moved in a range of more than 20%.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za