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SA stocks post worst week in two years

Rand also down on the day.
Capitec bucked the trend on Friday, jumping more than 9% to R924.27. Picture: Shutterstock

The JSE Top 40 Index ended lower on Friday, wrapping up its worst week in two years as an extended bull run loses steam, while the rand dropped 2% after strong US jobs data lifted the dollar.

The blue-chip JSE Top 40 Index fell 1% to 51 908 points, bringing losses this week to 4.8% – the biggest weekly decline since January 2016. The broader All Share Index fell by the same margin to 58 656.82.

Investors have been piling into equities for much of last month amid growing optimism that the newly-elected ruling party leadership would push through business friendly policies.

A downbeat tone in major overseas markets also added to the bearish sentiment.

PPC featured on the decliners list after the cement maker said nine-month core profit, or Ebitda, had been affected by corporate action.

Shares in the company dropped 7.6% to R7.34. PPC’s leadership team spent much of 2017 in merger discussions with companies including AfriSam, Nigeria’s Dangote Cement and Ireland’s CRH.

However, Capitec bucked the trend, jumping more than 9% to R924.27, recovering from a selloff suffered earlier this week when US firm Viceroy Research published a damning report accusing the lender of overstating its income and assets.

In the foreign exchange market, the rand fell after strong US jobs data raised the possibility that the Federal Reserve could be more aggressive in raising interest rates this year.

Higher US rates often drain capital away from higher-yielding, but riskier emerging markets like South Africa, weighing on their currencies.

At 1510 GMT, the rand traded at 12.08 per dollar, 2.05% weaker than its New York close on Thursday.

Market attention was also on President Jacob Zuma’s future after parliament agreed to a request from an opposition for a motion of no-confidence in the leader.

Government bonds also weakened, with the yield for the benchmark instrument rising by 4 basis points to 8.49%. 

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