SA shares book record close on US stimulus
South African stocks booked a fresh record close on Friday as aggressive stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve boosted mining shares, including African Rainbow Minerals, and outweighed worries over strikes in the platinum and gold sector.
Copper, gold and oil hit multi-month highs after the Fed's move to stimulate the world's top economy spurred expectations for increased global demand for raw materials.
Minerals are South Africa's biggest exports and expectations of renewed demand for its commodities - including platinum, gold and coal - often translates into better growth at home.
"The Fed's decision just created positive momentum throughout the market. That's good for economies around the world," said Bruno van Eck, a trader at Thebe Securities in Johannesburg.
"Next week you might find things calming down a bit. The volumes will come down but the positive sentiment seems set here for a while."
The All-Share index, the broadest measure of South African stock performance, booked a record close on Friday, rising 1.85 percent to 36,550.08. It earlier hit the highest level in its 17-year history at 36,585.12.
The benchmark Top-40 index also booked a record close at 32,328.83, up 2.14 percent, after earlier touching a life record of 32,381.54.
The news from Washington outweighed domestic concerns over the outlook for South Africa's mining sector, where strikers at Lonmin's Marikana mine rejected a pay offer, dimming prospects of ending five weeks of industrial action that has swept through the platinum sector and beyond.
Gainers were led by diversified miner African Rainbow Minerals, up 8.63 percent to 173.80 rand, followed by global miner Anglo American and Harmony Gold, up 7.78 percent and 5.96 percent, respectively.
Aquarius Platinum ended up 17.66 percent in Johannesburg despite news it would suspend operations at its Kroondal platinum mine until Sept. 16 as a precautionary measure.
Losers were led by No. 2 bank FirstRand, down 3.65 percent to 25.62 rand, and top retailer Shoprite, which shed 3.44 percent to 158.60 rand, and were followed by several other banking and retail stocks.
"There is a cyclical switch out of the retailers, out of the banking stocks and into the mining stocks," van Eck added.
Trade volume was high, with more than 310 million shares changing hands, according to latest bourse statistics, above last year's daily average of 255 million shares.
Advancers outnumbered decliners 206 to 93. A total of 65 stocks were unchanged.