South African stocks hit a 20-month high

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The JSE building in Sandton. Photo: Elvira Wood
The JSE building in Sandton. Photo: Elvira Wood

South Africa’s main stock index advanced for a fourth consecutive day to the highest intraday level since April 2019, with Anglo American [JSE:AGL] jumping to a 12-year high and strength in the rand lifting banks.

The FTSE/JSE Africa All Shares Index was up 0.6% as of 10:20 am in Johannesburg. Anglo American climbed 0.7% to the highest since July 2008 after an update from Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO], which gained 1.4%.

The risk-on sentiment was evident in early trade, with 112 of the 141 index members advancing, and only 17 lower. Friday’s strength helped propel the FTSE/JSE Africa All Share index to a second week of gains, rising 2.7% since Monday, and extend the annual increase to 4%.

Meanwhile, global equities remain around record highs as investors bet that positive vaccine developments can help sustain an economic recovery next year. Uncertainty remains about a US stimulus package, where a bipartisan proposal endorsed by Democratic leaders as a basis for negotiations is luring increased interest from Republicans, lifting the chances for a deal by year-end.

  • Gauge for mining stocks climbs for a fourth day, up 0.6%.

BHP Group +0.7%, Anglo American Platinum [JSE:AMS] +2%, Exxaro Resources [JSE:EXX] +2.3%, Impala Platinum [JSE:IMP] +0.9%, Sibanye Stillwater +0.5%, African Rainbow Minerals +1%, Glencore [JSE:GLN] +0.4%

  • Index for bank stocks rises for a fourth day, the longest winning streak since October 2. Banks up 1.6% as the rand strengthens

FirstRand [JSE:FSR] +2.2%, Standard Bank Group [JSE:SBK] +2.1%, Absa Group +1.9%, Nedbank Group [JSE:NED]+1.7%, Capitec Bank Holdings [JSE:CPI] +0.6%, Investec [JSE:INL] +1.5%

  • Insurers +2.4%

Sanlam [JSE:SLM] +2.8%, Discovery [JSE:DSY]+2.7%, Old Mutual +2%, Momentum Metropolitan Holdings +1.2%, Liberty Holdings [JSE:LBH] +2%

Foreigners were net sellers of South African stocks Thursday, disposing 285 million rand worth of shares, according to exchange operator JSE.

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