South African stocks book record closes, gains capped

Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:16pm EDT

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* Top-40 and All-share up 0.1 pct

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JOHANNESBURG Oct 29 (Reuters) - South African stocks inched to their highest close on record on Tuesday, helped by a rise in grocer Shoprite after it settled a labour dispute in Zambia.

The market was also buoyed by several small-cap firms, such as Consolidated Infrastructure Group, which rose on higher earnings.

But broad gains were limited as investors continued to worry about valuations, given that Johannesburg equities are now at record highs.

"There is still buying moment for South African equities," said Hugh Gous, a trader at 28E Capital Stockbrokers.

The benchmark Top-40 index rose 0.1 percent to 40,496.24, its highest finish on record. It also hit a new intraday high of 40.748.68 during the session.

The broad All-Share index rose 0.09 percent to 45,443.88, its highest close on record. It also set a new intraday high of 45,572.76 during the session.

Technical indicators show the market may have little room for further advances in the near future.

The 14-day relative strength index, or RSI, - a momentum indicator tracked by chartists - for both of the main indices is nearly back into oversold territory.

Shares of Shoprite Holdings rose 1 percent to 183.50 rand after the grocer agreed to hefty wage increases in Zambia, where the government had threatened to shut down its stores over the pay issue.

Consolidated Infrastructure, which makes more than 80 percent of its revenue from developing high voltage substations and installing overhead power lines, jumped more than 5 percent as the builder posted a 19 percent rise in full-year earnings.

Seardel Investment gained more than 10 percent after the clothing firm said it is to sell three clothing manufacturing operations in South Africa and Lesotho to the textile workers union SACTWU for 105 million rand ($10.68 million).

Seardel will lend the union part of the money which it expects to be repaid through future cash distributions such as dividends.

Infrasors Holdings was one of the biggest decliners, falling 22 percent to 68 cents. The small-cap resources firm said its earnings in the first half likely fell to 0.1 cent per share.

It also restated earnings from a year ago to 0.1 cent from 0.8 cent.

Trade was relatively modest with 128 million shares changing hands, according to preliminary bourse statistics.

Whereas 159 companies advanced on the Johannesburg bourse, another 135 lost value.

Insurer Old Mutual experienced the most activity with over 6 million shares sold. ($1 = 9.8335 South African rand) (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; editing by David Dolan)

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