The Nikkei Index edged lower on Wednesday on the back of a weaker performance on Wall Street overnight, but losses were pared by Tokyo Electron Ltd shares surging 13% higher on news of a possible takeover, but investor sentiment remains cautious over a possible U.S. government shutdown.
Shares on the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong, as well as shares on mainland China traded higher on Wednesday, with investors eagerly anticipating the 29 September launch of Shanghai's free trade zone, which may see as promise of future financial reforms.
According to Reuters, European markets are seen opening steady on Wednesday amidst losses on U.S. markets overnight, while investors shift their attention to a possible U.S. government shutdown unless a resolution can be found ahead of the fiscal year on 30 September.
Reuters reports that US markets ended mostly lower on Tuesday with the Dow and S&P 500 slipping lower, but the technology-heavy NASDAQ edged higher, with the focus now shifting to Capitol Hill after a bill to fund the U.S. government met strong resistance and added to investor caution.
Business Day reports that the JSE ended slightly lower on Monday, dragged down by gold mining and resources shares, after Morgan Stanley lowered its expectations for the gold price last week Friday, while low trading volumes ahead of the Heritage Day public holiday also added to the bearish market sentiment.
The Rand has slipped lower to trade at R9.8652 against the Dollar, while it is firmer at R13.7442 against the Euro, but weaker at R15.7442 to the Pound.
The gold price has edged higher on Wednesday, but any advance was limited by uninspiring physical demand, while the persistent uncertainty over the outlook for U.S. economic stimulus also pared gains. Gold was last trading at $1 328.72, with the platinum price quoted at $1 429.50, while the palladium price was at $720.75.
Brent crude oil was last trading slightly higher at $109.26 a barrel.