Picture: 123RF/SEEWHATMITCHSEE
Picture: 123RF/SEEWHATMITCHSEE

The JSE faces weaker Asian markets on Wednesday morning, with the rand largely stable and focus on finance minister Tito Mboweni’s budget announcement later.

The budget will be closely watched as SA grapples with the fallout from Covid-19, which has made the task of reining in an already large deficit even more difficult.

US stocks were volatile overnight, but bounced back from sharp losses after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said the bank will continue to support an economic recovery through monetary policy.

Powell stayed on message overnight, acknowledging the improvements seen in the economy but highlighting that it was “uneven and far from complete”, Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley said in a note. This had simply helped Wall Street reverse losses, however, and there was caution in Asia on Wednesday. 

“Further retreats in the short term by global equities cannot be ruled out as markets remain fixated on inflation,” Halley said.

In morning trade the Hang Seng was down 1.92% and the Shanghai Composite 1.55%.

Tencent, which influences its biggest-single shareholder, Naspers, had lost 1.49%.

Gold was 0.19% higher at $1,808.71/oz while platinum had risen 0.91% to $1,247.77. Brent crude was flat at $65.03 a barrel.

The rand had weakened 0.25% to R14.55/$.

Chemicals and explosives group AECI is expected to report a fall of headline earnings per share of as much as 25% in its year to end-December later, reflecting pressure from Covid-19 on its customers in the early parts of the year.

Drugmaker Adcock Ingram is due to release its results for the six months to December later, though it has recently issued a trading statement.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za

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