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Stocks weighed down by weaker commodities

AngloGold Ashanti took the heaviest losses among the JSE’s blue chips, plummeting 5.48%

South African shares were weaker on Friday, dragged down by mining stocks as commodity prices dipped and platinum hit a fresh six-year low.

AngloGold Ashanti took the heaviest losses among the JSE’s blue chips, plummeting 5.48% to close at R94.51. The top three gold producers in Africa’s most advanced economy will next week continue negotiations with trade unions who want wage increases as high as 100%, the Chamber of Mines said on Friday.

Sibanye Gold fell more than 2% to close at R19.58, while Harmony Gold recovered by 0.44% to R13.76 after a 6% slump on Thursday when the company announced chief executive Graham Briggs would retire.

Shares in platinum producers were also down as the metal dipped below $1,000 per ounce for the first time since early 2009.

Anglo American Platinum fell 1.43%, Impala Platinum dipped 0.55% and Lonmin was 0.32% weaker.

Dollar gains after US inflation and housing data added to the pressure on commodity prices, said Greg Katzenellenbogen, director at Sanlam Private Wealth.

Commodity heavyweights BHP Billiton and Anglo American both shed more than 2%.

Petrochemical giant Sasol fell 2.73% to R428.90.

Investment firm Brait SE, which got a pile of cash from selling its stake in closely held Pepkor last year, gained more nearly 3% on Friday to close at R134.85.

“Brait seems to be spending its money wisely with the acquisitions it has made and the market likes that,” said Katzenellenbogen.

Brait has gained more than 70% this year, most of it after buying an 80% stake in fitness group Virgin Active in April and offering $3 billion for British fashion retailer New Look in May.

The JSE Top-40 index fell 0.37% to 47,052.58 and the broader All-Share Index was also down 0.24% at 52,723.72.

Trading volumes in the market as a whole were lively with nearly 189 million shares changing hands, well above last year’s daily average of 183 million.

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