#RandReport: Rand retreats in quiet trade, Naspers leads stocks higher

At 1500 GMT the rand had weakened 0.3% to 12.9700 per dollar compared to a close of 12.9350 in New York on Friday.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The rand backtracked against the dollar on Monday as forward momentum faded in the face of technical resistance levels and a lack of local data releases to drive sentiment.

Stocks closed firmer, with market heavyweight Naspers among the gainers after it hit a new all-time high.

At 1500 GMT the rand had weakened 0.3% to 12.9700 per dollar compared to a close of 12.9350 in New York on Friday.

The rand has struggled to break through technical resistance around the 12.8500 mark despite political uncertainty in the United States dragging the greenback to 13-month lows and buoying demand for emerging market assets.

A surprise rate cut by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) on Thursday had little effect on the currency and with only June producer inflation due later in the week, traders said they expected limited movements on the currency in either direction.

"Flows were non-existent last week. No one is doing anything other than what is necessary. The technical picture remains unchanged with lower highs and higher lows continuing to cause a convergence in price action," said trader at Standard Bank Warrick Butler.

In the equities market, the Johannesburg All-Share index closed 0.38% up to 54,368 points, while the Top-40 Blue Chip index firmed 0.54% to 48,058 points.

Market heavyweight, Naspers firmed 1.92% to R2860.00, a record high, as it mirrored gains from China's Tencent Holdings, in which it holds a major stake.

Leading the decliners, cement producer PPC fell to a more than one year low after saying its chief executive will resign with immediate effect. Shares were down 9% to 4.45%.

"This is unexpected and disappointing. Darryll Castle seemed to have steadied the company and the timing of this raises questions given the recent resignation of Tito Mboweni as well," Afrifocus Securities equity analyst Tinashe Kambadza said.

Government bonds were weaker, with the yield on the benchmark paper due in 2026 rising 4 basis points to 8.555%.