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SA’s stocks: Markets cheer Anglo American H1 results, rand weak

Currency retreats as fails to breach technical hurdles.

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s main stock indices came within sight of record highs on Thursday only to be repelled by technical factors, with data showing the market had moved into overbought territory.

This is according to their 14-day RSI, a momentum indicator monitored by analysts.

The broad All-share index rose 0.7% at one point to 55 222.81, within striking distance of its record high of 55 355.12 scaled in April 2015. It then pared gains to end 0.1% higher at 54 888.

The benchmark Top-40 came within 250 points of its historic peak in November 2015 before easing back to close 0.01% up at 48 569.

Among the gainers, Johannesburg-listed Anglo American rose 3.01% to R208.36 after it said it was resuming dividend payments six months early.

“Overall a strong set of results driven by better than expected cash generation. Interim dividend of 48 cents per share is a positive surprise,” Barclays said in a note.

Gold companies also rose, with the bullion index rising 1.18% after gold touched its highest price in six weeks on Thursday, lifted by short-covering and a weak dollar.

Topping the decliners, mobile network operator MTN Group skidded 6.77% to R118.62 after it flagged lower-than expected half-year headline earnings.

“MTN’s statement did not have much detail, but earnings were less than analysts expected,” said Momentum SP Reid Securities analyst Sibonginkosi Nyanga.

In the foreign exchange market, the rand weakened ending a brief overnight rally sparked by dovish statement on interest rates from the US central bank as traders backed out and looked elsewhere in emerging markets for high yields.

By 1500 GMT the rand had slipped 0.78% to 12.9950 per dollar compared to an overnight close of 12.8950, giving up momentum that had seen the currency touch 12.8600.

“The domestic currency has struggled to break convincingly through the 12.90/$ key resistance level, and will likely continue to vacillate around 12.90,” said analyst at Investec Annabel Bishop.

The rand has failed to close below the 12.90 mark in the past four sessions, triggering some short selling on technical basis as well as bets that the commodity prices may be set for a retreat.

Bonds were slightly firmer, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 down 1.5 basis points to 8.52%. (Reporting by 

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