Stocks gain for third day

Stocks followed major overseas markets higher on Wednesday.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton, Johannesburg. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG -Stocks followed major overseas markets higher on Wednesday, helping the main indices extend their winning streak to a third day.

Discovery featured among the gainers after the country's largest health insurer posted a 24 percent rise in full-year profit. Shares in the company climbed 2.5 percent to R101.77.

Overall, investors piled into equities on renewed risk appetite as optimism grew that a resolution would be reached between Ukraine and Russia.

"The market has been driven by international events at the moment such as the talk of a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, which takes a lot of pressure off the European economy," said Greg Katzenellenbogen, portfolio manager at Sanlam Private Wealth.

The European Union is one of South Africa's main trading partners, and a drop in economic activity there tends to negatively affect local exporters.

The JSE Top-40 index gained 0.67 percent to 46,387 and the broader All-share index added 0.64 percent to 51,793.

Mr Price was up 1.7 percent at 208.88 after the retailer lifted four-month sales by 16 percent, bucking the slow trend in the sector as debt-laden consumers flocked to its no-frills outlets.

On the downside, AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields fell between 1.4 percent and 2.2 percent as the price gold faltered.

At least 200 million shares changed hands, according to preliminary bourse statistics, with advancers outpacing decliners 185 to 123.