The JSE opens to mostly weaker Asian markets on Monday morning, but there were some signs of recovery for assets that nosedived after news regarding the Omicron variant.

Oil prices recovered more than 4% on Monday morning, but overall sentiment was fragile. There was some positive news at the weekend, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying the Omicron’s symptoms appear mild, while Moderna has said they expect to have a tweaked version of their vaccine available in 2022.

In early trade the rand recovered 1.08% to R16.12/$, having slumped 2.1% on Friday, breaching the psychologically important R16/$ hurdle for the first time in more than a year.

Asian markets were subdued, but caution there was understandable, with memories of the effects of the Delta variant still fresh, said Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley in a note.

US futures point to a rally in markets there later, said Halley, noting that the US depends less on foreign trade than much of the world, while sentiment towards equities will remain very fragile.

“Despite the irresistible pull of buying the dip on tenuous, early information on Omicron, we [are] just one negative Omicron headline away from going back to where we started,” he said. 

In morning trade the Shanghai composite was flat, while the Hang Seng was down 0.52% and Japan’s Nikkei 0.54%.

Tencent, which can give direction to the JSE via the Naspers stable, gained 0.99%.

Gold was flat at $1,793.91/oz while platinum rose 2.51% to $974.50. Brent crude rose 4.1% to $75.85 a barrel, having crashed 11% on Friday.

The local corporate and economic calendar is light on Monday, and focus is likely to be on Covid-19 news.



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