The JSE could take its cue from weaker Asian markets on Thursday, amid continued jitters over the state of the US-China trade war.
Reports suggest there are a number of sticking points preventing the formalisation of a partial deal, with risk-off sentiment prevailing so far this week.
Adding to the pressure, US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell alluded on Wednesday to a US unemployment level that could be turning for the worse in the near term, said Peregrine Treasury Solution corporate treasury manager Bianca Botes in a note.
Tencent was down 2.7% in Hong Kong, having reported after markets closed that its third-quarter profit dropped 13%, missing analyst expectations.
Naspers had fallen 2.25% on Wednesday and Prosus 2.36%.
At 6.20am the Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.92% and Japan’s Nikkei 0.85%, while the Shanghai Composite was flat.
Gold was flat at $1,464.50/oz while platinum had slipped 0.13% to $872.99. Brent crude was flat at $62.59 a barrel.
The rand was 0.13% weaker at R14.93/$.
Local focus on Thursday is on mining production figures for September, with the consensus for a recovery after a 3.2% contraction in August.
Diversified private health-care group Mediclinic is expected to release its half-year results to end-September later. The group said in a trading update in October that revenue had risen about 6.5% during the period.