Stocks felled by Greek jitters

Gold firms get safe-haven lift.

The unfolding financial crisis in Greece pushed South African stocks down for a second session in a row as investors pulled out of risky assets but gold producers shone as Athens’ woes buffed up the precious metal’s safe haven appeal.

Global financial markets were jolted on Monday by the collapse of talks and imposition of capital controls in Greece, although initial heavy selling eased as investors judged there was still some way to run for the saga.

In Johannesburg, selling was broad-based, but gold stocks bucked the downward trend.

“It’s a fundamental risk-off trade from Greek contagion. Investors are nervous and on edge at the moment and we could see more sell-offs this week. It will be very volatile,” said Lloyd Priestman, markets analyst at Caleo Capital.

Bullion’s price, which often benefits from uncertainty in financial markets, initially rallied to a near one-week high at $1,186.91 but later gave up some of those gains.

AngloGold Ashanti was the best performer among the JSE’s bluechips, gaining 3.3% to R114.

Shares in smaller players Harmony Gold climbed by 3.27% to R17.05 while Sibanye Gold’s shares rose 1.63% to R19.99.

The Gold Mining Index ended the session 2.95% higher at 1,060.61 points.

Most of the rest of the bourse was down.

Media giant Naspers was the biggest loser among the bluechips, down nearly 5%, while furniture manufacturer Steinhoff International closed nearly 3% weaker.

The Top-40 index finished 1.4% lower at 46,395.06 while the wider All-share index shed 1.27% to 51,999.92.

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