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#RandReport: Rand bounces, Steinhoff leads stocks lower

At 1531 GMT, the rand traded at 14.1725 per dollar, 0.44% firmer than its New York close on Tuesday.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s rand firmed on Wednesday, recovering some losses suffered in the previous session, while stocks were weaker as Steinhoff International weighed on the bourse.

With the dollar slipping against a basket of currencies on Wednesday amid concerns that Republican plans for major US tax cuts could be delayed, some emerging currencies found a foothold.

At 1531 GMT, the rand traded at 14.1725 per dollar, 0.44% firmer than its New York close on Tuesday.

The fragile domestic economy has hurt the rand in recent weeks, with the currency struggling to return to levels below the 14.00/$ mark achieved before Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba released bleak budget forecasts on 25 October.

The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday urged South Africa to implement reforms to restore confidence in the economy soon.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 rose 8 basis points to 9.27%.

On the stock market, the benchmark Top-40 index declined 0.2% to 53,730 points, while the broader All-share index fell 0.2% to 60,078 points.

Steinhoff International, which has its primary listing in Frankfurt, was the biggest loser among the blue-chips.

The firm’s Johannesburg-listed shares fell to a 10-week low after Reuters reported the company did not tell investors about almost $1 billion in transactions with a related company despite laws that some experts believe require it to do so.

“It’s a black cloud for them. Anything that has a negative bearing on reputation, the market will punish you for it,” said Independent Securities trader Ryan Woods.

Shares in the furniture retailer dropped to R56 in early trading, but recovered to R59.30, closing 4.2% weaker than its closing price on Tuesday.

E-commerce firm Naspers shed 2% to R3,559, pausing a rally which saw the stock reaching another life-high on Tuesday. Shares in Naspers, which holds a third of China’s TenCent, are up 80% so far this year.

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