The JSE faces mostly higher Asian markets on Thursday morning, with global focus still on US economic data as investors mull the future of US Federal Reserve policy.

The ADP private payrolls August report revealed a 375,000 increase, well below the 625,000 expected by consensus, and though that report doesn’t have a great track record at predicting US nonfarm payrolls outcomes, the big miss was too big to ignore, said National Australia Bank analyst Rodrigo Catril in a note.

The US nonfarm payroll report on Friday will be closely watched, with the market expecting about 665,000 jobs to be added.

The Fed wants to see a sustained improvement in the US labour market before paring back monetary policy support, and the prospect of lower interest rates for longer in the US would support the rand, given the relatively higher yield on offer from SA's bonds.

In morning trade, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.55% and Nikkei 0.43%, while the Hang Seng was flat.

Tencent, of which the Naspers stable is the single-largest shareholder, had added 1.68%.

Gold was flat at $1,811.62/oz, while platinum had fallen 0.46% to $996.70. Brent crude was 0.18% higher at $71.40 a barrel.

The rand was 0.1% firmer at R14.39/$.

Insurance group Discovery is due to report its results for the year to end-June later, saying in a recent update that normalised profit from operations is expected to increase between 5% and 10%, notwithstanding the R2.4bn Covid-19 effect for Discovery Life, from R1.1bn the year before. In spite of this, the group said it had seen robust growth and strong retention.

Santam is due to report later that headline earnings per share rose at least 20% in its six months to end-June, bouncing back from a tough first half of 2020 when the pandemic forced it to make provisions.

Fashion group Truworths is due to report an at least 23% rise in headline earnings per share for its year ending June 27, while it may give details on the cost of violence and looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July. This affected 57 of its stores.



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