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Stocks flat, Illovo at 7-year low

After weak FY earnings.

South Africa’s main stock index ended barely changed on Monday, with Illovo Sugar leading the decliners’ list after the continent’s biggest sugar producer posted lower full-year earnings.

Illovo reported a 7.7% fall to 179 cents in headline EPS, citing lower sugar prices and currency headwinds.

In reaction, shares in the company plunged 10.7% to R18.82, a level last seen nearly seven years ago and booked their biggest one-day decline on record.

“It will be more difficult for Illovo to increase prices on the back of the world (sugar) prices and that’s putting the company under pressure,” said Renier Swanepoel from UBS Equities.

Overall, Johannesburg’s blue-chip companies slipped with the Top-40 index inching down 0.08% to 47,884. The wider All-share shed 0.13% to 53,985.

MTN was also down 2.3% to R224 as severe fuel shortages in Nigeria hit the services of Africa’s largest mobile telecoms operator.

Among the biggest gainers, Australia-based mining company BHP Billiton rose 0.62% to R263.19 and rival Anglo American added 0.73% to R197.99.

Activity was slow with more than 106 million shares traded, well below last year’s daily average of 183 million because of a holiday in Europe.

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