SA stocks fall for third session

Platinum was the biggest decliner among the precious metals.

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

JOHANNESBURG - South African stocks fell for the third straight session on Wednesday, dragged down by mining companies such as Lonmin and AngloGold Ashanti which slid on plunging spot metal prices.

Investors were shifting out of precious metals and into the US dollar on expectations the Federal Reserve would tighten monetary policy before other big central banks

Platinum was the biggest decliner among the precious metals, sliding to five-year lows at $1,256.30 an ounce early in the session.

Platinum mining company Lonmin, the biggest decliner on the bourse, reached its lowest level in almost two years, shedding 4,9 percent to R32,20.

Anglo American Platinum, the world's top producer, fell 2,5 percent to R357, hitting its lowest in nine months.

"Dollar strength has put all the commodities under pressure," said Greg Davies, an equities trader at Cratos Capital. "Its starting to get to levels where you wonder if these mines are still profitable."

AngloGold Ashanti dropped 2,9 percent to R134.50 as the spot price of gold languished near nine-month lows and smaller gold producers dipped.

The Top-40 fell 1.09 percent to 43.679 while the broader All-share index lost 0.86 percent to 48.912. Both indices were at 5-month lows.

According to preliminary market data, there were 120 advancers and 180 decliners while trade was active with nearly 200 million shares changing hands, compared to last year's daily average of 176 million.