The JSE could take its lead from firmer Asian markets and extend gains on Wednesday, with sentiment benefiting from the optimism around the return of economic activity as economies ease lockdown restrictions.

Focus is also on the US, where violent protests and looting have led to the prospect of military forces being deployed to support the police.

“As history suggests, when governments put boots on the ground to quell civil unrest, it never ends well,” AxiCorp chief global markets strategist Stephen Innes said in a note.

In morning trade, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.5%, while Japan’s Nikkei and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng had both added more than 1%.

Tencent, which influences the JSE via Naspers, was flat.

The rand was 0.33% firmer at R17.09/$, with interest in riskier assets keeping the dollar under pressure, Peregrine Treasury Solutions executive director Bianca Botes said in a note.

Gold was flat at $1,725.03/oz while platinum had fallen 0.12% to $837.75. Brent crude was 1.16% higher at $39.98 a barrel.

Standard Bank’s purchasing managers index (PMI) for May is due out later in the day, but overall the local calendar is quiet.

Focus is instead on the protests on the US and the global pace of reopening.