Johannesburg - The JSE opened modestly weaker on Tuesday, weighed down by negative sentiments arising from persistent political unrest in the Middle East and north Africa, as well as high oil prices.
The rand remained strong, with major indexes showing mixed performances, a trader said.
By 09:24 local time, the JSE all share index was down a slight 0.16%, with resources falling 0.46% and gold counters declining 0.46%. But platinum miners added 0.10%. Banks were 0.45% higher and financials rose 0.34%, but industrials shed 0.11%.
The rand was bid at R6.85 to the dollar, unchanged from the JSE's close on Monday. Gold was quoted at $1 427.83 a troy ounce from $1 435.53/oz at the JSE's previous close, while platinum was at $1 810.50/oz from $1 836.50/oz before.
The trader said uncertainty in the Middle East and north Africa was still affecting the market.
Dow Jones Newswires reported that Asian stock markets were mostly higher on Tuesday, with merger activity bolstering Tokyo shares, but gains were capped as investors remained discouraged by high oil prices amid the continuing political upheaval in the Middle East and north Africa.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average added 0.3%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.2% and South Korea's Kospi Composite tacked on 1.3%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.2%, while the Shanghai Composite shed 0.4%
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 33 points in screen trade.
"Risk aversion is likely to be the dominant theme until there is reasonable certainty that oil prices can retreat to $90 (per barrel) or below," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney.
"The threat of a permanent rise in oil prices has hit at a time when equity markets were priced on the assumption of solid earnings growth over the next 12 to 18 months. Oil at over $100 per barrel for any length of time is likely to lead to reduced expectations for consumer discretionary spending and corporate profitability," Spooner said.