The JSE faces mostly weaker Asian markets on Wednesday morning, with surging global Covid-19 numbers and downbeat US earnings reports overnight eroding enthusiasm for riskier assets.
Countries, including India and Canada, are grappling with another wave of the pandemic, with additional concern coming from the emergence of new, deadlier variants of the virus.
“The glaring problem is that, despite strenuous efforts by the medical community around the globe, we are not even close to calling it a day so that people can start again or continue with things more productively,” Axi global chief market strategist Stephen Innes said in a note.
The shares of streaming giant Netflix also slumped overnight, after it reported a sharp slowdown in subscriber growth.
In morning trade Japan’s Nikkei was down 1.72% and the Hang Seng 1.63%, while the Shanghai Composite had edged 0.15% higher.
Tencent, which gives direction to the JSE via the Naspers stable, fell 1.53%.
Gold ws up 0.15% to $1,781.15/oz while platinum was flat at $1,186.91. Brent crude was 0.39% weaker at $66.02 a barrel.
The rand was 0.19% weaker at R14.31/$.
Locally, inflation numbers for March are due later, and are expected to show a mild acceleration from February’s 2.9% year-on-year rise, reflecting higher food and fuel prices.
Pick n Pay is scheduled to release its results for the year to end-February later, saying in a recent trading update that headline earnings per share (HEPS) could fall as much as a quarter. The retailer said it had seen turnover growth in the year, but faced higher Covid-19-related operating costs, while it also took a hit from restrictions on the sale of tobacco and liquor.