The JSE opened slightly stronger on Thursday, defying Wall Street's decline on Wednesday as local investors resumed their search for bargains.
The local trader said firmer metal prices also gave the market a boost, adding that mining stocks were gaining the most.
By 09:21 local time, the JSE all-share index was up 0.21 percent, with resources rising 0.29 percent and gold miners firming 1.22 percent. Financials gained 0.44 percent and banks were 0.47 percent stronger. Elsewhere, platinum miners and industrials were flat.
The rand was last bid at 6.70 to the dollar from 6.73 at the JSE's close on Wednesday. Gold was quoted at US$1,536.95 a troy ounce from US$1,537.45/oz at the JSE's previous close, while platinum was at $1,822.50/oz, from $1,818.50/oz previously.
The trader said Asian markets were mixed. Markets around the world have been under pressure in the past few sessions due to concerns over the global economic outlook.
Dow Jones Newswires reported that Asian stock markets were mostly lower on Thursday amid persistent concerns about the US and global economic outlooks, while disappointing jobs data in Australia capped the Sydney market.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.3 percent, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2 percent, South Korea's Kospi Composite lost 0.2 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.0 percent, China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.6 percent and New Zealand's NZX-50 slipped 1.0 percent.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 16 points in screen trade.
The regional mood was soured after Wall Street weakened for the sixth consecutive session on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 staging its longest run of falls since February 2009.
"There's a continuing uncertainty regarding the global economic backdrop and what the US is going to do about raising the debt ceiling, while the recent comments from US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke suggest there's no further quantitative easing coming. The market is probably going to anticipate a relief rally but there's no confidence that it will be anything but short-lived," said BBY senior institutional dealer Peter Copeland in Sydney.