The JSE may take its lead from weaker Asian markets on Wednesday morning, with all eyes on the possible signing of a partial US-China trade deal later.
Stocks have been boosted so far in 2020 by the expectation that a partial trade deal will be finalised in January. US officials said on Tuesday that tariffs may not be rolled back until a second-phase deal is struck.
National Australia Bank analyst Tapas Strickland said in a note that further tariff relief was likely to happen only after the November US presidential elections, suggesting that Wednesday’s agreement may be as good as it gets for 2020.
Asian markets were under pressure on Wednesday morning, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down 0.85%, while the Shanghai Composite had lost 0.66%.
Gold was up 0.38% to $1,552.15/oz while platinum had risen 0.67% to $989.06, indicating that local miners could give the JSE a lift.
Brent crude had fallen 0.23% to $64.28 a barrel.
The rand was flat at R14.40/$.
The US-China trade deal is likely to steal focus on Wednesday, but locally retail sales numbers for November are due at 1pm.
Retail sales are expected to rise 0.8% compared with the same month in 2018, partially due to Black Friday sales.