Asian markets point to a weak start for JSE on Thursday

The JSE could follow weaker Asian markets on Thursday morning, with the US-China trade war once again dominating market sentiment.

Reports have suggested a forthcoming US-China meeting may be delayed, with some speculation that US President Donald Trump wants to postpone a resolution until 2020 — when he is up for re-election.

National Australia Bank analyst Roy Catrill said in a note that not committing to the original deadline for signing a partial agreement reached in October could mean there is more time for a more comprehensive agreement to be thrashed out.  Markets, understandably, had not taken the news well, he said.

At 6.15am SA time the Shanghai Composite was down 0.3% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.34%.

Tencent had lost 1.92%.

Gold and platinum were flat at $1,490.93/oz and $928.88 respectively. Brent crude was down 0.15% to $61.76 a barrel.

The rand had weakened 0.19% to R14.8387/$.

Local focus on Thursday is on consumer confidence data for October, due at 11.30am. The consensus is for a slight decline in confidence that month, after an improvement in September.

Manufacturing data for September is due at 1pm. Data from Stats SA is expected to show that activity in the manufacturing sector decreased in the last month of the third quarter.

Retailer TFG is due to release its interim results to end-September later on Thursday, but has not issued a trading statement, implying its headline earnings have not deviated more than 20% from the prior comparative period.