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The JSE could benefit from mostly higher Asian markets on Tuesday morning, with commodity prices generally stable, as investor focus remains squarely on the conflict in the Ukraine.

Negotiators from Ukraine and Russia met on Monday to begin peace talks, though Oxford Economics analysts said in a note it is too early to expect positive results.

Finance leaders from Group of Seven (G7) countries are meeting later on Tuesday to discuss financial aid to Ukraine, and there may be further sanctions, with a number of Russian banks already cut off from the global payments system, Swift.

The move, along with freezing the Russian central bank’s assets, will be crushing, said Oxford Economics and, given that Russia is deeply integrated into global markets, unforeseen consequences may follow.

US markets were volatile overnight, with investors weighing the fallout from sanctions as well as the prospect that the US Federal Reserve may be less aggressive than expected in tightening monetary policy.

In morning trade the Shanghai Composite was up 0.28% and Japan’s Nikkei 1.59%, while the Hang Seng was flat.

Tencent, which influences the JSE via the Naspers stable, was up 1.71%.

Gold was 0.22% weaker at $1,905.15/oz while platinum was little changed at $1,044. Brent crude was 0.7% higher at $98.81 a barrel, having fallen 0.25% on Monday.

The rand was flat at R15.36/$, having weakened 1.58% on Monday.

Impala Platinum is due to report its half-year results to end-December later, saying in a recent trading update that basic earnings are expected to fall as much as 53%. The group benefited in the previous comparative period from the reversal of writedowns.

Construction group Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon is due to report a hefty loss for its six months to end-December later, having recently moved its Australian division into Business Rescue.



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