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The JSE looks set to start to mixed, but subdued, Asian markets on Thursday, with the rand holding steady at R16/$ after losing almost 1% overnight, and conditions remaining volatile.

US markets came under pressure overnight, with major bourses losing more than 1%, as that country detected its first case of the Covid-19 variant Omicron.

Global markets bounced back earlier on Wednesday, with the JSE closing at a record high after gaining more than 1%, amid uncertainty over Omicron’s effect.

Risk assets had fared generally well, despite US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell saying earlier this week that policymakers will discuss accelerating tapering at their meeting later in December.

Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam noted on Wednesday that the rebound didn’t seem particularly warranted, especially in light of Powell’s hawkish tone.

“But then, buying dips has often appeared to defy logic and yet been very effective so you can’t blame investors for giving it a try,” he said. “And let’s face it, we’re a good headline on vaccine effectiveness away from a potentially tasty Santa rally.”

In morning trade on Thursday, Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.17%, the Hang Seng was up 0.23%, while the Shanghai Composite was flat.

Tencent, which influences the JSE via the Naspers stable, had edged up 0.13%.

Gold was down 0.21% at $1,777.10/oz and platinum had risen 0.96% to $941.99. Brent crude was 1.15% higher at $69.69 a barrel, having fallen almost 2% on Wednesday.

Local focus on Thursday is likely to remain on Covid-19, due to worrying case numbers in Gauteng.

Tharisa, a chrome and platinum group metals (PGMs) miner, is due to release results for its year to end-September later, saying in a recent trading update that, amid higher prices, headline earnings per share are set to more than double.  



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