Johannesburg - The JSE started the trading session on Thursday on a relatively firm footing, with investor attention focused on the Spanish debt auction.
Soon after the opening, the JSE All Share [JSE:J203]
index was up 0.24%, with resources gaining 0.56%, and platinum miners were flat (0.02%). Gold miners were also flat (-0.03%).
Banks were 0.17% in the red, financials were flat (-0.02%) and industrials advanced 0.15%.
The rand was trading at R7.81 to the dollar, from R7.80 at the JSE's close on Wednesday.
Gold was quoted at US$1 642.69 a troy ounce from US$1 644.70/oz at the JSE's previous close, while platinum was at $1 582.50/oz, from $1 576/oz at the previous session.
Hennie Fourie, stockbroker at PSG Konsult, said: "The successful Spanish bond auction could spark a short-term rally in the equity markets, lifting commodity prices."
In Asia, stock markets recovered from earlier lows on Thursday on the China easing reports, though investors were cautious ahead of the Spanish bond auction, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.82% to 9 588.38 points, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.61% to 20 907.82 points and China's Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.2%.
European stocks opened higher despite the weak opening calls.
The UK's FTSE 100 was up 0.53% to 5 755.69 points.
Concerns about Spanish banks sent European equities lower on Wednesday and weighed on the euro currency after the Bank of Spain said the non-performing loan ratio for Spanish banks increased in February to 8.16%, the highest level since 1994, from 7.91% in January.
As such, market participants are reducing risk ahead of the Spanish bond auction, which will reflect investor confidence in Spain's ability to address the severe financial conditions plaguing the country.