The JSE faces mostly positive Asian markets on Thursday morning, with sentiment boosted by some positive US economic data, while concerns over US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan are fading.
Pelosi’s visit on Wednesday was the highest-profile visit to the country since her predecessor, Newt Gingrich, visited in 1997, raising the prospect of worsening tension between China and the US.
China is expected to begin military exercises on Thursday, but “a few hours on from Nancy Pelosi leaving Taiwan and markets have almost forgotten she ever came”, National Australia Bank head of foreign exchange strategy Ray Attrill said in a note.
Markets were also digesting US data that showed a better than expected pickup in manufacturing activity in July.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones added almost 1.3% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq almost 2.6%.
Market attention on Thursday will be on the Bank of England policy announcement later, with a 50-basis-point hike expected.
In early trade on Thursday, the Hang Seng was up 1.37%, Japan’s Nikkei 0.58% and the Shanghai Composite 0.15%.
Tencent, which influences the JSE via the Naspers stable, had gained 2.25%.
Gold was 0.42% higher at $1,771.67/oz, while platinum had added 0.11% to $846.40. Brent crude was little changed at $96.99 a barrel.
The rand was 0.26% firmer at R16.74/$.
Paper and packaging group Sappi is due to provide an update on the three months to end-June later, its third quarter, and the group has recently reported buoyant profit growth as it benefits from a tight market.