South Africa's rand held onto its recent gains against the dollar early on Friday in the absence of major local economic data releases.

At 0859 GMT, the rand traded at 18.6350 against the dollar , 0.44% stronger than its previous close.

The dollar index was last trading up about 0.04% against a basket of currencies.

With no scheduled major domestic events, investors will turn their focus toward U.S. economic releases later in the day.

"Traders have also turned cautious ahead of this afternoon's U.S. nonfarm payrolls and unemployment numbers," said Andre Cilliers, currency strategist at TreasuryONE in a research note.

On the stock market, the Top-40 index was down 1.33%, while the broader all-share index was 1.29% lower in early trade.

South Africa's benchmark 2030 government bond was weaker in early deals, with the yield up 5 basis points to 10.485%. (Reporting by Sfundo Parakozov and Bhargav Acharya Editing by Mark Potter)