Wall Street’s overnight rise boosted Asian markets on Thursday morning, as a surprise deal in the US to raise the debt ceiling lifted the pall that has been hanging over risky assets like equities.
The mood on the JSE turned gloomy on Wednesday, with the all share index off 1.2%. The losses were broad-based, but platinum miners bucked the trend.
Platinum and palladium were both about 0.3% weaker on Thursday morning.
Gold was steady, though, after a recent strong run, thanks to a weaker dollar and persistent concern about North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.
In local economic data on Thursday, the Reserve Bank releases August foreign exchange and gold reserves at 8am, while July mining and manufacturing production and sales due later in the day (11.30am and 2pm respectively), will give early clues to how the economy is faring in the third quarter.
Trading Economic forecasts a 0.9% fall in manufacturing output from a year earlier, with a 0.2% decline from June. Mining output is forecast to have risen 1.7% from July last year, and 0.2% from June.
Second-quarter GDP growth rebounded to 2.5% quarter on quarter.
Companies reporting results on Thursday include African Rainbow Minerals, which reported a 204% increase in headline earnings in the six months to end-June and a dividend up 189% to 650c.
Insurer Sanlam’s normalised headline earning per share (HEPS) for the six months to end-June rose 5% but diluted HEPS were down 19%.
Banking group FirstRand is expected to report full-year results.