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#RandReport: Resources companies lead SA stocks lower, rand firms

Iron ore producers were among the biggest losers after iron ore futures in China fell more than 6% on Tuesday.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - South African stocks slid on Tuesday, dragged down by resources companies, while the rand firmed slightly amid lingering political uncertainty.

Iron ore producers were among the biggest losers after iron ore futures in China fell more than 6% on Tuesday to their weakest level since January, pressured by a sustained drop in steel prices on concerns about oversupply.

African Rainbow Minerals tumbled by 10.7% to R85, Assore Limited dropped 9.4% to R221 and Kumba Iron Ore was down 8.9% at R170.04.

Nedbank, the largest investor in Nigeria's Ecobank, fell 3.5% to R224.56 after it flagged the pan-African lender's fourth-quarter losses. Ecobank reported a loss for 2016 blaming a recession in Nigeria and a strong US dollar.

Aspen Pharmacare, Africa's largest generic drugmaker, dropped 4.1% after a report in Britain's Times newspaper accused the company of withholding drugs to try to drive up prices in European markets.

The benchmark Top-40 index ended 1.65% down at 45,873 points, while the broader All-share index lost 1.57% to 52,672 points.

On the currency market, the rand firmed slightly in volatile trade as political uncertainty lingers. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that leaders should listen to protesters who have taken to the streets demanding that President Jacob Zuma leaves office.

During early trading on Tuesday, the rand reached 13.2400 against the dollar, its strongest since March 30. By the close the currency was up 0.08% at 13.2800.

"What we have here is a currency that is undervalued. Whenever there's good news an undervalued currency will appreciate. The president is seen to be on the backfoot with all these marches," said Efficient Group's chief economist, Dawie Roodt.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 fell 0.5 basis point to 8.83%.

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