The JSE looks set to start following higher Asian markets on Friday morning, amid positive sentiment, with focus still largely offshore.

Solid earnings reports from banks in Europe and the US, fading concerns over retail trading disturbances and better than expected US jobless claims contribute to the positive vibes, said National Australia Bank analyst Rodrigo Catril in a note.

Volatility due to retail investors buying up certain heavily shorted stocks had weighed on sentiment last week, though this issue has largely faded.

In morning trade the Shanghai Composite was up 0.46% and the Hang Seng 0.36%, while Japan’s Nikkei had gained 1.35%.

Tencent, which gives direction to the JSE via Naspers, had risen 0.41%.

Gold was up 0.1% at $1,795.48/oz while platinum had risen 0.18% to $1,099.44/oz. Brent crude had firmed 0.34% to $59.22 a barrel.

Gold had slipped 2.1% on Thursday, with the precious metal under pressure from investor interest in equities as well as a stronger dollar, said Axi chief global markets strategist Stephen Innes in a note.

“Stimulus and pandemic optimism could lead the US Federal Reserve to start tightening monetary policy a little earlier than expected, and gold could drop further,” he said.

The rand was 0.18% weaker at R15.01/$.

There is little on the local corporate calendar on Friday, while in economic news the Reserve Bank will release data on its gross foreign exchange and gold reserves later.

Internationally, US nonfarm payrolls data is due later.


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