The JSE was poised for a stronger day on Thursday, taking its cue from Asia, where stock markets rebounded after a shaky start to the week.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 led the pack in Asia, rebounding 2% after a sharp sell-off earlier in the week, which was pinned to a flare-up in new Covid-19 cases. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.45%.

The JSE has been subdued recently at an all-share index level, but has seen a surge in individual stocks in the mid- to small-cap categories. 

SA’s largest steel producer ArcelorMittal SA, long considered a market dog,  has rebounded 67% on a one-month rolling basis, according to In front data.

The rand, which is the proxy of investor sentiment because of its highly liquid status, was steady against the dollar, though was very strong on a month-to-date basis.

“The rand has seen substantial gains as commodity prices continue to gain, although there is some volatility occurring on the month in commodity prices overall, while base effects are aiding the annual ascent, along with market sentiment and some demand,” said Annabel Bishop, chief economist at Investec.

The rand was up 3.3% against the dollar so far in April, on track for its best monthly performance since December. The local currency was at R14.25/$.

Oil markets were steady, with Brent crude trading at 65% a barrel. 

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