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S. African stocks close firmer on Wednesday      

By Stanley Karombo JOHANNESBURG, (Xinhua) -- Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) firmed on Wednesday, as opposition political members took to the streets demanding the South African president to step down.

The all share was up 0.03 percent to 53,551.31 points at close of trading. Banks and Financial share rebound after last week’s sell-off. The top 40 index tumbled by 0.02 percent.

The South Africa rand, which reached R13.63 to the U.S. dollar in intra-day trade from close to R14 on Tuesday.

Banks stocks were the hardest hit by the cabinet reshuffle. The international rating agencies then downgraded the country’s credit rating last week, leading to the local unit tumbling.

Big rand-hedge stocks, such as British American Tobacco, down 1.22 percent to R918.99, Sasol was up 1.43 percent to R416.16.

Standard Bank regained 3.83 percent to R143.49, with FirstRand recouping 3.22 percent to R47.08 and Barclays Africa recovering 1.38 percent to R144.97. MMI Holdings climbed 3.64 percent to R22.8.

Mr Price gained 3.65 percent to R153.4 and Massmart edged up 3.31 percent to R135.33.

Naspers rose 0.87 percent to R2,471.59.


JSE closes firmer on Tuesday

JOHANNESBURG, (Xinhua) -- The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) performed beyond expectations on Tuesday, as banks and retailers regained from a recent sharp sell-off.

The all share index was up 0.74 percent to 53,535.16 points at close of trading. The performance is its best since January, with the blue chip top 40 gaining 0.72 percent.

The Gold index was again the star performer, and gained 1.39 percent on the back of rand weakness.

The South African rand dropped by 0.56 percent against the U.S. dollar. The local unit traded at R13.87 to dollar and R17.15 to the British Pound at 5:00 p.m. (CAT).

Among individual shares, Salol was down 2.44 percent to R411, while Richemont reached yet another 52-week high on Tuesday, gaining 1.69 percent to R110.75. 

Naspers traded 0.09 percent softer at R2 445.022. Steinhoff was 1.03 higher at R68.9.

Anglo American dropped 0.96 percent to R209.96.

Among retailers, Mr Price was up 1.78 percent to R148 and TFG recovered 3.46 percent to R146.44. Massmart recouped 2.7 percent to R131.85.


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