South African stocks end slightly lower, led by mining shares

Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:18am EST

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* Top-40 down 0.17 percent at 42,880.77

* All-share off 0.12 percent at 47,394.00

JOHANNESBURG Feb 24 (Reuters) - South African stocks ended slightly lower on Monday, weighed down by mining shares as worries about an economic slowdown in China pointed to reduced demand for industrial metals.

China is the biggest consumer of industrial metals such as copper, whose price fell to its lowest in more than two weeks.

"A slowdown in China doesn't bode well for the metals demand outlook, hence we're seeing a pull-back in resource stocks," said Evan Giannakis, an equity trader at Imara SP Reid.

Mining heavyweight Anglo American lost 2.8 percent at 275.95 rand and rival BHP Billiton fell 2.6 percent to 352.50 rand - both topping the decliners' list on the JSE top-40 index.

The blue-chip index inched down 0.17 percent to close at 42,880.77 while the broader All-share index edged 0.12 percent lower to 47,394.00.

But banks kept the downside momentum in check after Nedbank beat estimates with a 15 percent increase in annual profit and raised optimism about the outlook for the sector.

Nedbank rallied 3.22 percent to 209.30 rand, Standard Bank jumped 4.74 percent to 124.12 and FirstRand climbed 3.91 percent to 34.05 rand.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 153 to 149 while 59 stocks were unchanged with about 184 million shares changing hands. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa)

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