South African stocks climbed 0.6% in the final session of 2018 after President Donald Trump reported "big progress" in trade talks with China, paring losses for a year that’s still the market’s worst since 2008.
BHP [JSE:BIL] contributed to gains in Monday’s shortened trading, advancing 1.1%.
MTN [JSE:MTN] rose for a fourth day, extending its rally since Africa’s largest wireless carrier resolved a dispute with the Nigerian central bank over $8.1bn of fund transfers.
Johannesburg’s FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index ended the year down 11%, its worst performance since 2008. Naspers [JSE:NPN] was the biggest drag on the benchmark, in terms of index points, dropping 16% for the worst annual performance by Africa’s largest company by market value since 2001.
Anglo American Platinum [JSE:AMS] was the best-performing index member, climbing 52% in 2018. Property investor Lighthouse Capital was the worst, dropping 85%.
Troubled retailer Steinhoff International’s [JSE:SNH] Johannesburg-traded shares fell 63%. An index of South African gold stocks soared 25% in December as investors turned to bullion as a haven. Over 2018, AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG] was the sector’s best performer, climbing 41%.
The South African benchmark index fared better than the 17% decline in emerging markets. In dollar terms, however, Johannesburg stocks delivered a 24% loss for investors.