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Stocks up on opportunistic buying, rand recovers

Steinhoff tops gainers, rand advances as bulls return.

South African stocks ended Monday slightly higher with traders citing opportunistic buying following sharp declines in the previous week on worries about a US-led global trade war, while the rand benefited from a weaker dollar.

At 15:40 GMT the rand was 0.44% firmer at 11.87 per dollar compared to a close of 11.93 on Friday in New York, recovering as signs of improvement in the economy lured back bulls who fled risky assets fearing a global trade war.

The Johannesburg All-Share index closed 0.29% up to 57,912 points, while the Top-40 index rose 0.39% to 51,021 points.

“We’re seeing a bounce in some sectors and some stocks due to the fact that they’ve been heavily oversold, said BP Bernstein trader Vasili Girasis. “This could see opportunistic buying coming in. So bit of a relief rally”.

One of those oversold stocks, which topped the bourse, was global retailer Steinhoff International Holdings, rising 7.30% to R4.41.

Read: #SteinhoffLeaks Part 1: ‘We made some big mistakes’

Market-heavyweight Naspers also recovered from a decline hit on Friday to end up 1.93% to R3 298.

Among the decliners, South Africa’s biggest consumer foods maker, Tiger Brands hit a 3-month low after it recalled products produced by its Enterprise unit after the government traced the source of a listeria outbreak that has killed 180 people to its manufacturing facility.

Tiger Brands tumbled 7.44% to R393.38.

Read: Government blames processed meat firms for delays in listeria probe

The rand tumbled more than 3% last week to its softest in two weeks, crossing the crucial 12.00/$ mark, as emerging market currencies globally slumped following signs of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and President Donald Trump’s tariff plan on steel.

On Monday however optimism toward the rand returned after a survey of private-sector activity expanded for the first time in seven months in February as political uncertainty eased.

Traders said the rand was at a technical crossroads, with short term gauges indicating some further losses but that the long term case still favouring gains.

“For the rand to appreciate further there needs to be a renewed positive local impetus in our opinion,” analysts at Nedbank said in a note.

“At the same time, global developments (especially major central bank policy) are set to remain a headwind rather than a tailwind for the local currency.”

Bonds were flat with the yield on the benchmark 2026 paper at 8.205%. 

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