South African stocks climbed 0.6% in the final session of 2018 after US President Donald Trump reported “big progress” in trade talks with China, paring losses for a year that is still the market’s worst since 2008.
BHP Group Plc contributed to gains in shortened trading on Monday (December 31), advancing 1.1%. MTN rose for a fourth day, extending its rally since Africa’s largest wireless carrier resolved a dispute with the Nigerian central bank over $8.1 billion of fund transfers.
The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index ended the year down 11%, its worst performance since 2008.
Naspers was the biggest drag on the benchmark, in terms of index points, dropping 16% for the worst annual performance by Africa’s largest company by market value since 2001.
Anglo American Platinum was the best-performing index member, climbing 52% in 2018. Property investor Lighthouse Capital was the worst, dropping 85%. Troubled retailer Steinhoff International NV’s Johannesburg-traded shares fell 63%.
An index of South African gold stocks soared 25% in December as investors turned to bullion as a haven. Over 2018, AngloGold Ashanti was the sector’s best performer, climbing 41%.
The South African benchmark index fared better than the 17% decline in emerging markets. In dollar terms, however, Johannesburg stocks delivered a 24% loss for investors.
© 2018 Bloomberg L.P