The JSE faces weaker Asian markets on Friday morning, amid some downbeat Covid-19 vaccine news, while local stocks will also need to react to news of further restrictions in SA’s pandemic hotspots.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced late on Thursday that the government will be implementing tighter curfew restrictions in parts of the Eastern Cape, while the national state of disaster has been extended to January 15.

Internationally, stock gains faded on Thursday after reports that Pfizer expects to ship half the Covid-19 vaccines it originally planned for 2020 due to supply-chain problems, said Axi chief global markets strategist Stephen Innes in a note.

It was, however, likely not a surprise to many “that there are not enough subarctic temperature shipping containers instantly available to make good on their 2020 delivery channel commitment,” Innes said.

Overall, sentiment remains supported by factors including the ongoing stimulus talks in the US, he said.

In morning trade the Shanghai Composite was down 0.36% and Japan’s Nikkei 0.35%, while the Hang Seng had lost 0.16%.

Chinese internet giant Tencent, of which Naspers is the largest single shareholder, had gained 0.42%.

Gold was flat at $1,842.30/oz while platinum had risen 1.25% to $1,041.33/oz. Brent crude has risen 1.66% to $49.63 a barrel.

The rand was little changed at R15.15/$.

Electronics group Ellies is scheduled to release its results for the six months to end-October later, saying in a trading update it had returned to profit in the period, partially due to hiving off its logistics functions to a third-party provider. The group’s share rose 57% on Thursday, though it is somewhat volatile, with Ellies having a market capitalisation of R68m.

US employment data later will also be closely watched, as it is an important indicator of the health of the world’s largest economy, as well as future US Federal Reserve policy.


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