South African stocks were flat on Tuesday, despite resource stocks taking a beating with BHP Billiton leading the decline after ratings agency Fitch said iron ore prices could stay low for several years.
The world’s largest mining company BHP Billiton, which has a large iron ore division, shed 4.76% on the report by Fitch and a warning by its CEO Andrew Mackenzie that plans by Australia’s government to launch a probe about competition in the nation’s iron ore industry could scare off investors.
Shares in coal producer Exxaro Resources, which owns a minority stake in the Sishen Iron Ore Company, fell 4.17% to R89.60 after warning that its earnings this half year would be lower due to lower iron ore export prices.
Kumba Iron Ore, which has a majority stake in Sishen, fell to R148.35 a share, its weakest level this month but pared losses to close 4.77% lower at R154.00.
Kumba’s parent, Anglo American, was down 2.24%, and the diversified miner was further pulled down by its unit Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).
Amplats, the world’s largest producer of the metal used as a catalytic converter to reduce emissions by vehicles, closed 4.37% weaker only a day after reports that platinum recycling from cars could hit a record this year.
Rival platinum producer Lonmin fell 3.23%, while Impala Platinum closed 1.98% weaker.
The biggest gainer among the JSE’s blue chips was South Africa’s biggest cement maker PPC, which rose despite announcing a decline in its half-year earnings after announcing cost savings measures to boost earnings.
Its shares surged by more than 7% to R18.95.
Fishing firm Oceana Group gained more than 3% after acquiring a UUS based fishmeal manufacturer.
The Top 40 Index fell 0.25% to 48,143 points and the All Share Index lost 0.15% lower on 54,327.13 points.