China Leads Gains In Asia; Oil Up

11/03/2021 The JSE slipped 0.2% to close at 68,516 points on Wednesday as business confidence index, RMB BER/BCI, fell in the first quarter of 2021 as the battle with Covid-19 threatened an already weak economy. Retail saw the biggest decline in the first quarter, followed by manufacturing and new-vehicle sales. The Top-40 index lost 0.34%; platinum miners gained 1.81%, financials 1.2% and banks 0.9%. Mr. Mandla Gantsho, Kumba’s Chairman, is set to retire from the board this ….to leave after AGM on the 14th of May.

Asian markets on the-go on Thursday lead by China’s Shanghai after modest gains in Wall Street overnight. A tame/contained U.S inflation report helped to keep Treasury yields and the dollar in check. Nasdaq futures higher, with contracts on the Dow extending the index’s record-setting gain after Congress passed another expansive coronavirus relief package. Crude climbed above $68 a barrel. Bitcoin briefly topped $57,000 before retreating. Gold futures were up 0.40% at $1,733.81. The dollar inched down on Thursday. Tencent 2.06% stronger as Hang Seng is 1.01% firmer.

NEWS:
• Gold Rises With Dollar Weakening After U.S. Inflation Data
• South Africa Secures 40m Coronavirus Vaccines Until Year-End
• Eskom, Sasol Face Government Demand to Meet Emission Limits
• South African ANC’s Integrity Body Clears Ramaphosa, News24 Says
EQUITY PREVIEW:
• MTN Looks to Spin Off Fiber, Fintech Units to Unlock Value
• Bidvest Earnings Outlook Improving, But Valuation Rich: Avior
EARNINGS:
• Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. (APN SJ)
• Sanlam Ltd. (SLM SJ)
• Standard Bank Group Ltd. (SBK SJ)
ECONOMIC DATA:
• 11am: 4Q Current-account balance, est. 213 billion rand, prior 297 billion rand
• 11:30am: Jan. mining production m/m, est. 0.4%, prior 0.5%; y/y est. -3%, prior 0.1%; Platinum production y/y, prior -19.4%; Gold output y/y, prior -0.9%
• 1pm: Jan. manufacturing production m/m, est. -0.7%, prior -0.1%; NSA y/y, est. -1.1%, prior 1.8%
GOVERNMENT:
• Former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama will testify at the hearings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture and corruption

EU/UK/US
European shares were higher as strong corporate results from Quilter and Adidas offset falls in mining stocks due to weaker commodities prices. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index edged up by 0.4%, alongside a 1.11% advance for the Cac-40, while the German Dax added 0.71%. The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.07%, with miners under the cosh – BHP down 3%, Rio Tinto off 2.92%, Anglo American losing 0.99%, and Glencore 0.54% weaker.

The S&P 500 rose for a second day after CPI data suggested inflationary pressures remain tame and as Congress passed a massive Covid-relief plan. At the close: the Dow was up 1.46% and the S&P 500 advanced 0.6%, while the Nasdaq slipped 0.04% to 13,068.83. House Democrats managed to pass $1.9trn stimulus bill early in the US day, with the president expected to sign the bill over the weekend. That would lead to cheques of up to $1,400 per eligible American being sent by the end of the month. U.S futures main indices are all in positive territory.

Here are some key events to watch:
• The U.S. government auctions 30-year Treasuries Thursday.
• The European Central Bank holds its monetary policy meeting and President Christine Lagarde is set to do a briefing Thursday.
ASIA
Asian markets were mostly up Thursday morning, continuing to rebound from two-week lows after weaker-than-expected inflation data calmed inflation worries and boosted the Dow to a record close. The MSCI outside Japan is firmer 1.39%, Nikkei 225 gained 0.6% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.1%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 remained flat.
The Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.7% as Chinese leaders prepared to wrap up the annual session of the largely ceremonial legislature.