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Stocks slightly lower, Implats under pressure

BHP Billiton dragged the main indices slightly lower.

South African stocks ended slightly lower on Thursday with Impala Platinum among the biggest fallers after the miner’s quarterly output showed it had not fully recovered from last year’s record five-month strike.

Impala Platinum, the world’s second-biggest producer of the white metal, said third-quarter production surged nearly 50 percent but output so far this fiscal year was still down about 6%.

Shares in the Implats dropped 2.9% to R64.98, recouping some of the losses after falling by nearly 4% shortly after the announcement.

“It looks the company is struggling to ramp up production after the strike last year and the market doesn’t like that,” one London-based analyst said.

Overall, declines in heavily BHP Billiton dragged the main indices slightly lower. The benchmark JSE Top-40 index lost 0.36% to 47,821 and the broader All-share index ended 0.33% lower at 53,874.

BHP Billiton lost 1.2% to R288.68 after a senior official at the firm said iron ore supply was expected to outpace demand and keep prices under pressure.

On the upside, Basil Read jumped 6.4% to R3.14 after the construction firm said it had received offers of as much as R80 million for its energy unit.

Trading was active with some 210 million shares changing ownership, compared with last year’s daily average of 183 million.

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