The Nikkei Index edged slightly higher on Monday taking direction from Wall Street's performance on Friday, while also supported by advances in the share prices of some mid- and small-cap shares, but any gains were limited on investor concerns that the Japanese economic recovery from a tax hike earlier this year may be slower than initially thought.
The Hang Seng Index began September on a firmer footing on Monday with investors buying into some heavyweight stocks that were knocked down last week, while shares on mainland China also climbed with defence and media shares leading the gainers, despite official PMI data showing signs of weakness in the economy.
According to Reuters, European markets are expected to open mixed with the German and French markets seen opening unchanged, while the UK market is seen opening between 4 points higher and 7 points lower.
Reuters reports that U.S. markets ended a strong August with a whimper on Friday, with the S&P 500 Index climbing modestly higher to a new record close above 2003.37 points on the back of the latest bullish economic data such as business activity in the U.S. Midwest which showed a rebound, while U .S. consumer sentiment rose more than expected, but the rally was threatened by overseas concerns after Britain raised its international terrorism threat level to the second highest.
The Business Day website reports that the JSE All Share Index tracked global equity markets lower on Friday, ending a rough month for the resources sector, with companies such as Anglo American and BHP Billiton falling on the back of sustained weakness in the spot price of iron ore, while there were big losses in Implats following its full-year results.
The Rand was last trading slightly softer at R10.6664 against the US Dollar, with the Euro quoted firmer at R14.0001, but the British Pound was quoted weaker at R17.6840.
The gold price nudged lower in Singapore trade on Monday, failing to find support despite the escalating geopolitical tensions in Ukraine as a stronger Dollar, as well as firmer equity markets offset the precious metal's appeal as a safe-haven investment. Gold was last trading slightly lower at $1,287.75, with the platinum price quoted at $1,418.70, while the palladium price was last trading at the $907.80 level.
Brent was last trading higher at $103.23 a barrel.