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SA stocks down, Naspers retreats from record high

Disappointing results knocked Standard Bank and Harmony Gold.

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 14 (Reuters) – South African stocks fell for a third straight session on Thursday after a slew of financial results knocked prices of companies such as lender Standard Bank and mining firm Harmony Gold.

Shares of e-commerce firm Naspers retreated from a record high hit the previous day, ending down 4.68% at R1,365.40. Naspers jumped on Wednesday after China’s Tencent , in which it owns over a third, reported higher first-half earnings.

The benchmark Top-40 index dipped 0.42% to 45,920 while the wider All-share index was down 0.38% to 51,073.

Standard Bank fell 3.43% to R140.85 after it took an $80 million hit from its exposure to suspected metal financing fraud in China, wiping out its first-half earnings growth.

Harmony, ending 1.23% lower at R33.86, fell to a steep fourth-quarter loss because of a R1.4 billion ($132 million) write-down on an expansion project.

Also taking a hit after posting a full-year loss was Northam Platinum, falling 1% to R45.50.

On the upside, gainers included dual-listed foreign firms such as brewer SABMiller, which gained 1.4% to R575.00.

“There definitely seems to be a bit of demand in some of the dual-listed shares particularly in London as opposed to the local moves because of a stronger rand,” said Ferdi Heyneke, portfolio manager atAfrifocus.

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