Global Markets Unchanged As Virus Surge Offsets Vaccine Euphoria

19/11/2020 Wall Street closed lower on Wednesday amid rising covid-19 cases across the U.S, Europe and Asia. Renewed lockdown restrictions overshadowed optimism surrounding a vaccine to inoculate against coronavirus infection. Asian markets are mixed with Japan underperforming as Tokyo reported a record number of new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, surpassing a previous daily high set in August. The Dollar Spot Index was near its lowest since April 2018. Oil was down on Thursday morning, as COVID-19 numbers across the globe continued upwards and added to fuel demand worries. Brent futures down 0.36% to $44.18 and WTI futures fell 0.65% to $41.55. Gold down 0.22% at $1,866.20.

On Wednesday the JSE firmed up 0.47% to 57,323.67 points, with Spar leading the gains as the retailer skyrocketed 13.28% to close at R205.21 after announcing annual results. The Top-40 gained 0.44%. Industrials added 0.64% and general retailers 0.66%. Gold miners fell 3.02%. The rand is pretty flat R15.5060 against the greenback, while the Yield on 10 year govt rand bonds fell 2.6 bps to 8.819%. We are looking forward to a slightly weaker/softer opening as the I.G markets indicate Top-40 futures to be -167 points below the watermark.

ECONOMY:
• SARB Announce Interest Rate
EQUITY PREVIEW:
• (PPH SJ): Pepkor Chairman Naidoo to Step Down at End Nov.
• (SAP SJ): Sappi Convertible Bonds to Carry Fixed Rate Coupon of 5.25%
EARNINGS: (All times Central African Time)
• (LHC SJ): LIFE HEALTHCARE FY REV. 25.39B RAND, LIFE HEALTHCARE GROUP SCRAPS FINAL DIVIDEND
• (WHL SJ): WOOLWORTHS 20-WEEK GROUP SALES ROSE 3.5% VS YEAR AGO, WOOLWORTHS CASH FLOW REMAINS POSITIVE, NET DEBT LEVELS FALL
• (LBH SJ): LIBERTY HOLDINGS OPS REMAIN FINANCIALLY SOUND, WELL CAPITALISED; LIBERTY MARKET VOLATILITY WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE MATERIAL HIT
• (INL SJ) Investec, 1H
GOVERNMENT:
• Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is expected to announce whether or not he’ll recuse himself from commission of inquiry into state corruption during testimony by ex-President Jacob Zuma, 10a.m.

EU/UK/US
European equities markets advanced as investors weighed progress in the development of Covid-19 vaccines against the risk of rising virus cases. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index ended 0.4% higher, London’s FTSE100 gaining 0.31%, alongside both the CAC-40 and German’s DAX gaining 0.52% at the close. UK core inflation increased to 1.5% from 1.3%, versus expectations for no change.

The Dow plunged 344.93 points, or 1.16%, with the S&P500 also retreating 1.16% and the Nasdaq seeing the session out 0.82% weaker on Wednesday. The U.S’ seven-day average surpassed 157,000 for the first time ever on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University, record high and almost 30% higher than infection levels a week ago. Stock futures pretty flat on Thursday as virus spread triggers more restrictions.

POLITICS:
• Joe Biden is moving closer to formally claiming the White House as states push ahead with certifying election results despite Donald Trump’s efforts to challenge the vote.
• White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said it’s up to Congress to proceed with any talks, even though the issue has been a “priority” for President Trump.
ASIA
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.6%. Shanghai index added 0.45% as President Xi Jinping vowed to cut tariffs and expand imports of high-quality goods and services. Japan also reported record news cases as Tokyo raised its pandemic alert to the highest level, shoving the Nikkei down 0.8%.