Platinum stocks buoy S.African bourse ahead of long weekend

Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:26am EDT

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* Main indices gain 0.5 pct

JOHANNESBURG, April 17 (Reuters) - South African stocks ended in positive territory on Thursday ahead of the four-day Easter long weekend, and as talks to end a platinum-sector strike injected some fresh optimism in the sector.

Prospects for platinum producers Anglo American Platinum and Impala brightened with news that striking mining union leaders and companies executives were in direct talks to end a walk out that is entering its 13th week.

The world's three biggest platinum producers, including Lonmin, have lost 13.5 billion rand ($1.3 billion) in revenue in the country's most damaging work stoppage.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel. The market was positioning itself for some good news," said Wilmar Buys, a portfolio manager at FFO Securities, in relation to the platinum sector stocks.

The Top-40 index rose 0.47 percent to 43,446.52 and the All-share index was 0.46 percent higher at 48,362.22.

It was the market's second straight session of gains and comes after the bourse hit record highs two weeks ago.

Amplats added 2.8 percent to 505.21 rand and Implats was up 2.5 percent to 122.01 rand. Lonmin was up 1.3 percent.

Preference shares of Alexander Forbes jumped 6.5 percent to 9 rand after the company flagged that several different parties had expressed interest in acquiring the financial services firm.

Trade in the coming week was likely to be light, Buys said, depending on whether U.S. companies would be unveiling better performances.

Investors traded 143.8 million shares during the session, according to preliminary bourse statistics, with advancers outpacing decliners 185 to 125. (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; editing by David Dolan)

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