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SA stocks down as gold loses lustre

The gold producer fell 8 percent as bullion sank nearly 1 percent.

Stock market. Picture: stock.xchng.

JOHANNESBURG - South African stocks fell on Thursday, as investors booked profits ahead of an expected thinning out of activity during the holidays and as gold producers such as AngloGold Ashanti took a knock from falling spot prices.

The gold producer fell 8 percent as bullion sank nearly 1 percent, after US data pointed to a strengthening economy, reviving prospects for a rise in interest rates that could cut the appeal of non-interest bearing bullion.

Harmony and Gold Fields fell 6 and 4.3 percent respectively.

"Everything seems to be under pressure, resources especially," said Brandon Sacks, a trader at Avior Research.

"Secondly, people are going on holiday so there was some profit-taking as well. This is the last week of real trading."

Gold miners listed in Johannesburg lost more than 5 percent, while the platinum index shed 3.6 percent.

Only five stocks on the Top-40 closed in positive territory, as the blue chip index ended 1.5 percent lower at 42,438. The wider All-Share index was down 1.3 percent at 48,110.

Trade on the Johannesburg stock exchange was active with volume reaching more than 239 million shares, according to preliminary bourse data. Daily average turnover last year was 176 million shares.