South African stocks hit record high, Woolworths extends gains

The All-share index notched up a record 52,984 before pulling back slightly at 52,967.

Generic stock exchange. Picture: stock.xchng.

JOHANNESBURG - South African stocks ended higher on Friday, helping the broader index notch up a second consecutive record high, as an upbeat tone in major overseas markets boosted sentiment.

Woolworths was among the top gainers, extending gains to the second straight day after posting a double-digit earnings growth on Thursday.

"We continue to favour Woolies as the best entry into what is now Southern Hemisphere retail," said Sasha Naryshkine, a fund manager at Vestact in a note.

Shares in the company, which also operates in Australia, rose 4,4 percent to R90,50, slightly below a record R90,55 set earlier.

Overall, traders took their cue from higher overseas markets after forecast-smashing growth data from Germany boosted appetite for risky assets worldwide.

The All-share index, the broadest measure of the stock market performance, notched up a record 52,984 before pulling back slightly at 52,967, up 0,88 percent. The blue-chip Top-40 index gained 0,97 percent to 46,739.

Spar Group gained one percent to R183,85 after the retailer said sales increased 38 percent in the 17 weeks ended 24 January.

Decliners included SABMiller and Naspers, falling 1,5 percent and 1,2 percent respectively.

Activity was robust with 196 million shares traded, above last year's daily average of 183 million shares, according to preliminary bourse data.