South Africa's rand steady, stocks open higher
JOHANNESBURG, Dec 7 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand steadied against the dollar early on Wednesday as traders awaited the outcome of Thursday's European Central Bank policy meeting, which may set the tone for currency markets.
* At 0700 GMT, the rand ZAR=D3 traded at 13.6875 per dollar, not far off its New York close of 13.6725 on Tuesday.
* There are expectations that the ECB will change the terms of its asset-buying programme to alleviate a shortage of bonds and extend the stimulus beyond its current end date in March 2017.
* "All focus is on the ECB: the more they ease the better for the rand, notably on EUR/ZAR ," Rand Merchant Bank analyst John Cairns said.
* On the stock market, the Top-40 .JTOPI index was up 0.8 percent while the broader all-share .JALSH rose 0.49 percent in early trade.
* In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 ZAR186= dipped 3.5 basis points to 8.91 percent.
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