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The JSE looks set to start the new week without a clear direction, with global markets considering positive Omicron news and disappointing economic data.

Riskier assets came under pressure on Friday after US nonfarm payrolls numbers disappointed, with employers adding less than half of the jobs expected by economists in November.

Markets are also considering the threat posed by Omicron, but hospital data out of SA has been encouraging, seeming to indicate that the new variant is not more deadly than the previous one.

Markets are also considering the prospect of the US Federal Reserve accelerating the pace of monetary policy tapering at its December meeting.

“As we start a new week it is worth highlighting that Omicron headlines were positive on Saturday, which may add to some stabilisation in risk sentiment outside markets adjusting to a more hawkish Fed,” said National Australia Bank analyst Tapas Strickland in a note.

Tech stocks were under pressure on Friday, and bitcoin saw a heavy sell-off at the weekend.

In morning trade on Monday the Shanghai composite was up 0.37%, while the Hang Seng gave back 1.26%.

Tencent, which can give direction to the JSE via the Naspers stable, fell 2.68%.

Gold was flat at $1,783.09/oz while platinum gained 0.45% to $938. Brent crude was 1.26% higher at $71.31 a barrel.

The rand was 0.23% firmer at R16.03/$.

Packaging group Nampak is due to release its results for the year to end-September later, and expects a return to profit, having seen significant write-downs in the prior year, as well as retrenchment and restructuring costs.



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