South African stocks ticked up slightly on Wednesday buoyed by telecoms operator MTN Group, spurred on by peaceful presidential elections in Nigeria where it is a market leader.
Financial markets in Africa’s most populous country, which is also MTN’s most important market in terms of revenue and subscribers, rallied after an unprecedented win by opposition politicianMuhammadu Buhari.
MTN shares ended nearly 6% higher, pushing Johannesburg’s Top-40 index up 0.2% to 46,128. The All-share index added 0.2% to 52,281.
“MTN was on the back of the Nigerian election. A lot of people thought the elections wouldn’t go through smoothly,” said Chad Bushnell, a trader at Anglorand Asset Managers.
Capitec Bank Holdings hit a life high of R537.65 per share as investors lapped up the stock anticipating it would be included in the blue chip Top-40 index, on the back of its rising market capitalisation, which has gained 57% so far this year.
Gold producers listed in Johannesburg fell as job figures from US private employers showed the smallest growth in more than a year, supporting views that the Federal Reserve will hold off any rate hike until next year.
Gold is particularly sensitive to shifts in US interest rates, which also move the dollar, in which the metal is priced.
The gold index was down 2.3% as AngloGold Ashanti shed 2.7% and Gold Fields lost 3%.
Activity was fairly brisk with more than 198 million shares changing hands, comparison to a daily average of 183 million shares last year.