Johannesburg - The JSE bounced back in early trade on Thursday but the local bourse remained vulnerable amid a lack of consensus by EU leaders on how to tackle the risk of Greece exiting the currency bloc and also declining factory orders from China.
The unstable outlook for the eurozone and fears that the crisis could derail the global economy have prompted investors to park money in safe-haven assets such as US and German government bonds, the US dollar or cash.
In their morning report, Absa Capital said that safe-havens continue to thrive as global growth fears and EU debt fears linger.
At 09:24 local time, the JSE All Share [JSE:J203]
index was up 0.69% to 33,114.86 points, with the platinum index adding 1.04%, resources gaining 1.24% and gold counters up 4.12%.
Financials garnered 0.61%, banking stocks lifted 0.78% and industrials were up 0.33%.
The rand was trading at R8.37 to the US dollar, from R8.32 at the JSE's close on Wednesday, while gold was quoted at $1 559.24 a troy ounce from $1 568.37/oz at the JSE's previous close and platinum was at $1 428.20/oz, from $1 444.00/oz at the previous session.
Dow Jones News Wires reported that most Asian markets edged lower on Thursday after weak manufacturing data from China and as European leaders failed to produce a breakthrough to the region's economic crisis.
The euro fell to its lowest in two years overnight as a summit in Brussels highlighted differences between European leaders. Worries are growing over a potential Greek exit from the eurozone, which would likely spur greater turmoil in the region.
Ambitious proposals to contain the crisis include new Socialist President of France, Francois Hollande, pushing for the introduction of common European debt. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes they could lead to fiscal laxity among the weaker members of the eurozone.
As hopes for a breakthrough faded, the euro fell overnight to touch a low of $1.2545, its lowest level since July 2010, and was stable during Asian trading at $1.2582.
Some investors "were hoping for more positive announcement to come out from European leaders. There was a bit of a build-up, which is why we saw a sharp sale of assets overnight," said Justin Harper, market strategist at IG Markets in Singapore.
Japanese companies with a strong exposure to the eurozone underperformed the Nikkei. Camera maker Canon was down 3.7% and Honda Motor fell 2%.
China shares turned lower as manufacturing data for May pointed toward a deteriorating economic environment in Asia's largest economy.
Oil climbed 0.6% on Thursday to $90.45 a barrel, picking up from the new 2012 settlement low of $89.90 that it reached late in New York.