JSE set for slow start on Friday ahead of US jobs data

JSE. Picture: REUTERS
JSE. Picture: REUTERS

SA stocks could get off to a cautious start on Friday amid muted trading activity in Asia following a US holiday and ahead of an important labour market release later in the day.

Global markets saw a quiet trading session on Thursday with US markets shut, and caution prevailed on Friday morning in Asia.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, Korea’s Kospi and Japan’s Nikkei 225 were all flat, while the Shanghai Composite was 0.2% down and Australia’s main benchmark added 0.7%.

Chinese internet and gaming giant Tencent was flat in Hong Kong, while JSE-heavyweight BHP Group was 1% down in Australia.

Investors will be closely watching US non-farm payroll data for June, which is due later in the day.

“Many expect the data to weigh heavily on the Fed’s interest rate decision later this month,” analysts at ANZ Banking Group in Australia said.

“We are sceptical that the Fed would act from one data point alone, but if the numbers confirm a loss of momentum in the labour market or are extremely weak, the focus will return immediately to the potential for a 50 basis point cut.”

The market expects a 160,000 increase in non-farm payrolls, ANZ said.

No major company results are expected locally on Friday, while the SA Reserve Bank will publish data on its gold and foreign exchange reserves, along with statements of assets and liabilities. 

The rand, which strengthened through the R14/$ mark on Thursday amid rising demand for SA bonds, was at R14.05/$ on Friday morning after reversing its gains through Thursday afternoon and evening.

The local currency was at R17.68/£ and R15.85/€.

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