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#RandReport: Resource rally helps SA stocks to one-month high

At 1609 GMT the rand had gained 0.67 percent to 15.8225 per dollar after touching a session high of 15.7500.

South African rand. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN
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Business

JOHANNESBURG - Stocks followed global markets higher, reaching a one-month peak, buoyed by strong gains in resource shares, while the rand strengthened against the dollar on Thursday.

Anglo American rose 17.1 percent, adding to its 9-percent gain in the previous session, on the back of firmer metals prices.

The firm’s platinum unit, Anglo American Platinum, was the biggest gainer among the Johannesburg Securities Exchange's blue chips, advancing 19.6 percent to R273.94.

Gains on the bourse were widespread with financials rallying and African telecoms giant MTN jumping nine percent to R138.77.

The Top-40 index was up 1.94 percent to 44,292 and the broader All-share index added 2.25 percent to 49,627.

Trading on the bourse was lively with 350 million shares changing hands, compared to last year’s daily average of 296 million.

On the forex market, the rand strengthened against the dollar as the fading prospect of more near-term United States (US) rate hikes drove the dollar to its biggest daily fall in over two months. Against a basket of currencies, the greenback fell 0.72 percent to 96.602, its lowest since early November.

Local January business confidence indicators, which showed a marginal improvement, also helped the rand.

However, “we suspect that the rand could give back some of those gains on Friday if the US payrolls reading surprises to the upside," said Barclays Africa currency strategist Mike Keenan.

At 1609 GMT the rand had gained 0.67 percent to 15.8225 per dollar after touching a session high of 15.7500.

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