The reception area of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. File picture: Leon Nicholas

Johannesburg – The JSE was trading in the black on Thursday with resources and industrials in the lead and banks pulling a bit on the downside‚ while the market awaits the interest rate announcement at 3pm today.

At 10.03am the all share was up 0.41% to 40‚349.43 points‚ with industrials gaining 0.63%‚ while banks dipped 0.14%.

Asian markets were mixed with the Japanese Nikkei 225 closing 1.28% higher and the Hong Kong Hang Send index giving back 0.21% by 9.49am local time.

“The main event today is the Reserve Bank’s interest rate announcement. There is little doubt with renewed rand weakness and steady uptick in inflation that the SARB will stay pat‚” Rand Merchant Bank said in a morning note.

“The emphasis will be on the nuances in the statement. While we do not expect any huge adjustments to the SARB’s inflation forecast‚ the impact of the labour unrest may result in modest downgrades of the banks’ growth forecasts for 2013‚ while rand weakness and unit labour cost growth could push the inflation trajectory slightly higher. We expect the MPC to deliver a neutral statement‚ indicating that the current degree of accommodation is appropriate but without giving explicit guidance on the direction of the next move in rates‚” the bank said.

Among individual stocks‚ ArcelorMittal (ACL) dipped 1.31% to R36.07‚ Bidvest (BVT) picked up 1.34% to R217.34 and Barloworld (BAW) lifted 1.83% to R90.88.

In retail The Foschini Group (TFG) gave up 1.06% to R123.66.

Insurer MMI Holdings (MMI) added 1.07% to R23.56 and in construction Aveng (AEG) gained 1.16% to R28.73.

“Today's post-MPC press conference could prove a brake against a run. Don not expect more than warnings about the negative consequences of large moves but even this might make the market pause‚” RMB said.

“Early morning Chinese flash January PMI figures have beaten expectations. Watch for the eurozone and US figures later today‚ the first decent numbers we will have for this year. Over the past few weeks‚ however‚ the pattern has been that good international data has been only enough to halt rand weakness‚ not reverse it‚” RMB said. - I-Net Bridge