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

The JSE was treading water on Wednesday morning‚ trading just shy of its record high reached on Tuesday‚ with markets participants awaiting local inflation figures‚ out at 10am‚ and all markets awaiting the US Federal Reserve’s announcement on Wednesday evening‚ with further stimulus measures expected.

At 9.31am‚ the all share index was flat (-0.06%) at 38‚514.61 points‚ with the top 40 index dipping 0.09% to 34‚210.58 points.

Resources showed a bit of upside‚ while financials and banks were trading softer.

In news on the US fiscal cliff‚ the Senate Democrat leader said on Tuesday that a deal before Christmas was unlikely.

Rand Merchant Bank said in a morning note: “Expectations of what the Fed will announce are fairly uniform: a switch of the expiring US$45bn Operation Twist — under which they buy long-dated treasuries and sell short-dated paper — into new outright treasury purchases. Anything less would be dollar positive and vice versa.

“The market will also be looking at the post-meeting statement to see the Fed’s progress towards adopting numerical thresholds on inflation and the unemployment rate‚” RMB said.

“The big corporate news is that Rio Tinto and Anglo are to sell their stake in Palabora Mining to a consortium made up of Chinese companies and the Industrial Development Corporation. This could generate net inflows or outflows depending on how minorities react‚ but at this stage it looks like the net flows will be small. Flows anyway would wait for regulatory approval‚ which could apparently take four to six months‚” the bank said.

“We expect a slight moderation in the local inflation today‚ from 5.6% to 5.5%‚ while consensus expects a stabilisation at 5.6%. The consensus forecast range of 5.4%-5.9% suggests there is upside risk and we would view a print outside of the 5.5%–5.6% range as a surprise.”

On the JSE Anglo American (AGL) gained 0.49% to R257.47‚ while BHP Billiton (BIL) dipped 0.15% to R288.49. Harmony (HAR) shed 1.07% to R69.10‚ while Exxaro (EXX) added 1.09% to R157.69.

Among banking stocks‚ Absa (ASA) dipped 0.81% to R158.71 and Capitec (CPI) gave back 0.91% to R183.11. - I-Net Bridge