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Rand firms on emerging market rally, stocks gain

Positive risk sentiment boosts currency.

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s rand firmed on Tuesday, buoyed by positive sentiment towards emerging markets assets, while Ascendis Health led stocks higher after announcing European acquisitions.

At 23:50, the rand traded at 15.6681 per dollar, 0.26% firmer from its New York close on Monday.

“It’s a general risk-on thing. The Turkish (lira) led the way after the reappointment of Turkish cabinet,” Rand Merchant Bank rand trader Jim Bryson said.

Turkey’s lira bounced off near four-month lows after investor-friendly deputy prime minister Mehmet Simsek kept his post in government.

Ascendis Health was the top gainer on the All-Share index after the company said it bought two European companies as part of its plan to expand globally and diversify its pharmaceutical products.

Shares in Ascendis surged 11% to R24.80.

The financial sector saw a recovery with investors returning to banking stocks on attractive valuations.

“Now we are seeing a bit of recovery in banks and they did get to levels where from an valuation point started to look attractive,” said Afrifocus portfolio manager Ferdi Heyneke.

Johannesburg-listed financial services company Old Mutual climbed 5.46% to R40.19, Coronation Fund Managers rose 4.74% to R69.40, while Standard Bank increased 1.54% to R121.41.

The benchmark Top-40 index climbed 1.07% to 47,033 points while the All-Share index rose 0.8% to 53,050 points.

Government bonds weakened, and the yield for the benchmark instrument due in 2026 added 5 basis points to 9.45%.

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