The JSE faces mostly higher Asian markets on Thursday morning, with investor sentiment still supported by optimism over US stimulus efforts.

Positive corporate earnings reports and the inauguration of President Joe Biden boosted US markets on Wednesday, with the consensus view that Biden’s early focus will be more on boosting growth than hiking taxes, said Axi chief global markets strategist Stephen Innes in a note.

“The market is also seeing through longer lockdowns on the premise that Covid-19 vaccinations will lead us out of the pandemic quickly,” Innes said.

Locally, all eyes are on the Reserve Bank, which is due to make its first interest rate decision of 2021 later in the day. The consensus view is that the Bank will keep rates on hold, though some economists have cited SA’s recent lockdown restrictions as a reason the Bank may cut, or at least signal low rates for a prolonged period.

The European Central Bank will also make a monetary policy announcement later, and its guidance on bond purchases will be closely scrutinised.

In morning trade, the Shanghai Composite was up 1.3% and Japan’s Nikkei 0.87%.

Tencent, which gives direction to the JSE through Naspers, had risen 1.69%.

Gold was flat at $1,871.05/oz, while platinum had fallen 1.21% to $1,100.14. Brent crude was 0.36% higher at $55.66 a barrel.

The rand had firmed 0.22% to R14.85/$, on track for its fourth-consecutive session of gains.

There is little on the local corporate calendar on Thursday, with focus instead likely to be on the Bank’s rate announcement.


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