SA stocks hit near 7-month highs, led by Richemont, miners

Rand falls against a broadly stronger dollar.
Richemont leads the Top-40 index higher after reporting a 4% rise in third-quarter sales. Image: Houston Cofield, Bloomberg

South African stocks rose to near seven-month highs on Friday, underpinned by gains in heavyweight Richemont and mining firms, while the rand fell against a broadly stronger dollar.

Richemont led the Top-40 index higher, surging 5.82% after the world’s second-biggest luxury goods group, reported a 4% rise in third-quarter sales, helped by double-digit growth in China and South Korea.

Resources continued to do some heavy lifting, with the mining index 2.66% firmer amid gains in gold, platinum and iron ore producers.

Gold edged higher on Friday but was on track to post its first weekly decline in six as solid Chinese data and a preliminary US-China trade deal improved risk appetite.

Palladium jumped over 9% to register a record high as the market grapples with deep supply shortages, while platinum rose 1.01%.

This boosted Sibanye-Stillwater by 5.32%, African Rainbow Minerals by 4.54%, Impala Platinum by 3.11% and Glencore by 1.32%.

The bourse also got a lift from improved global risk appetite following Chinese growth figures that suggested the world’s second-biggest economy was stabilising.

The Johannesburg All-Share index rose 1.35% to 59 001 points, a level last seen on June 24, while the Top 40 index climbed 1.48% to 52 735 points.

In the currency market, the rand gave up morning gains as rate cut momentum gave way to the impact of a broadly stronger dollar. At 1603 GMT, the rand traded at 14.46 per dollar, 0.4% weaker than its previous close.

Market participants were also cautious as the ruling African National Congress started a four-day National Executive meeting and the party’s Lekgotla gathering.

The ANC is expected to discuss options for struggling state-owned firms such as power utility Eskom and South African Airways, as well as trying to unify dividing voices on proposals to nationalise the central bank.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni came out against that plan this week on Twitter.

“Policy uncertainty remains the name of the game,” Bianca Botes, Treasury Partner at Peregrine Treasury Solutions, said in a note.

In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond was down 1 basis points at 8.18%. 

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