Johannesburg - The JSE opened marginally firmer on Friday,
led by global market sentiment ahead of a European Union summit on the weekend
to discuss possible solutions to the indebted eurozone.
A local trader said it was difficult to call the markets
ahead of the EU summit, with choppiness set to continue as any news out of
euroland set to continue to drive momentum.
By 09:13 local time, the JSE All Share [JSE:J203] index
added 0.09%. Gold however, dipped 0.42%, but platinum miners added 0.11%.
Resources shipped 0.08%.
Banks dropped 0.08%, but financials improved 0.11%, and
industrials landed 0.20%.
The rand was bid at R8.20 to the dollar, from R8.22 at the
JSE's close on Thursday. Gold traded at $1 628.78 a troy ounce from $1
651.89/oz at the JSE's previous close, while platinum was at $1 494.50/oz, from
$1 479.50/oz previously.
Dow Jones Newswires reported that European stock markets
opened cautiously higher on Friday, on hopes that European leaders could find a
solution to the European debt crisis in forthcoming days, even if an agreement
can't be reached at the European Union summit this weekend.
On Thursday, a disagreement emerged between Germany and
France over virtually every point of the debt plan, forcing the eurozone to
concede a much-anticipated summit of European Union leaders Sunday won't
produce an agreement. However, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German
Chancellor Angela Merkel later Thursday pledged to produce a comprehensive plan
at a second EU summit to be held by Wednesday next week at the latest.
IG Markets said that while there may be some initial relief,
assuming markets "buy in" to whatever plan is forthcoming, "it
will probably only be a matter of time before investors start to question how
we get these (indebted eurozone) countries working again, because at the moment
they're well and truly broken."
In Asian markets, stocks were mixed in choppy trade on
Friday with investors positioning themselves ahead of this weekend's EU summit.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 both edged down
0.1%, while South Korea's Kospi Composite rose 1.8%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng
Index was up 0.3%, and China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.1%