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#RandReport: Stocks hit highest level in 2016, rand flat

On the foreign exchange market, the rand was 0.02 percent weaker at 15.5925 per dollar by 1615 GMT.

The South African rand. Picture: Craig Wynn/EWN.
Rand,SA rand vs US dollar,dollar
Business Local

JOHANNESBURG - South African stocks rose to their highest level this year on Wednesday as furniture group Steinhoff climbed on news that its Conforama unit was considering a counter bid for a top European retailer.

The rand was flat as risk appetite subsided.

Johannesburg-listed shares of Steinhoff added 3.45 percent to R87.75 rand as it prepared to compete with Fnac's agreed offer to buy Europe's No. 3 electrical goods retailer Darty.

"Steinhoff remains aggressive with regards to picking up assets in Europe, and we have seen that share price running on the back of some strong numbers and intention to acquire a number of businesses in Europe," said Global Trader analyst Paul Chakaduka.

Clover Industries Ltd rose 4.75 percent to R17.20 after it said higher demand for its products lifted first-half profit by seven percent. The dairy products maker also said it would no longer invest in Nigeria due to a currency devaluation that made packaging costs unaffordable.

The benchmark Top-40 index rose 1.45 percent to 45,266 points while the broader All-Share index ended up 1.3 percent to 50,966 points, a level last seen on 31 December.

Trade volumes were active, according to preliminary bourse data with around 343 million shares changing hands, compared to 2015's daily average of 296 million shares.

On the foreign exchange market, the rand was 0.02 percent weaker at 15.5925 per dollar by 1615 GMT after trading as firm as 15.5000 overnight in a rally ignited by positive local and offshore sentiment.

The rand surrendered two straight days of gains to a dollar rally sparked by positive data from the world's top economy that renewed bets of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Bonds were also weaker, with the benchmark government paper due in 2026 adding 1.5 basis to 9.365 percent.

US manufacturing stabilised in February, while construction spending rose beyond eight-year highs, lifting the dollar to a one-month high against a basket of major currencies.

On Wednesday Moody's downgraded its outlook on Chinese government debt to "negative" from "stable", further dampening investors' appetite for assets of developing economies in favour of safer bets

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