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#RandReport: The rand gains on weaker than expected US wages data, stocks up

By 1500 GMT, the rand had strengthened 1.27% to 13.1600 per dollar, after closing at 13.3350 overnight in New York.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The rand reversed recent losses on Friday, gaining more than one percent as weaker than expected US wages data dampened expectations of a spate of interest rate increases this year by the Federal Reserve.

Stocks rose, led by bourse heavyweight Naspers, which has benefited from recent rand weakness.

By 1500 GMT, the rand had strengthened 1.27% to 13.1600 per dollar, after closing at 13.3350 overnight in New York.

While US employment expanded faster than market estimates, wages growth stalled, pushing the greenback lower against most currencies as investors reassessed expectations the US central bank would raise interest rates at least three times in 2017.

The rand had slipped to a three-week low in the previous session as traders positioned themselves for a dollar rebound ahead of the Fed's policy meeting next week, and still remains some distance from the 13.00 resistance level.

Mining and manufacturing production figures due next week are expected to show the two major sectors of South Africa's economy remain under pressure following sharp contractions in 2016 that drove the economy to shrink in two out four quarters.

Bonds also recovered, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 falling 2.5 basis points to 8.69%.

On the stock market, the Top-40 index was up 0.8% to 44,304 points, while the broader all-share index rose 0.7% to 51,270 points.

Heavily-weighted Naspers rose 2.70% to 216.50, benefiting from recent rand weakness despite the currency's rally on the day.

Among other gainers, Vodacom was up 2.79% to 151.20, Discovery rose 2.32% to 128.00 rand and Exxaro surged 8.86 percent to 113.00 rand.

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