S.African stocks retreat from record highs

JOHANNESBURG Mon May 5, 2014 12:18pm EDT

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JOHANNESBURG May 5 (Reuters) - South African stocks pulled back from record highs on Monday, with African Bank topping the decliners' list after flagging a first-half loss.

African Bank fell 6.46 percent to 9.84 rand, extending losses for the second straight session, after the lender forecast a $315 million loss as debt-laden customers fail to repay their loans.

"For African Bank, the news coming out each time continues to disappoint investors. Just when you think that things are looking up, there's more disappointing news, so, a lot of people are throwing in the towel," said Greg Katzenellenbogen, director of Sanlam Private Investments.

Some investors booked profits after the indices hit record highs last week, while others stayed on the sidelines due to a public holiday in the United Kingdom, said Katzenellenbogen.

Trading volumes were thin with about 125 million shares, or about 60 percent of the daily average, changing hands, according to preliminary bourse data.

Johannesburg's All-share index lost 0.43 percent to 48,880.81 and the benchmark Top-40 was down 0.53 percent at 43,776.73.

Retailers also featured on the decliners' list as African Bank's woes rekindled fears that debt-laden consumers would curb their spending.

Credit-based furniture retailer Lewis fell 3.17 percent to 61 rand, and grocer Shoprite Holdings slipped 1.9 percent to 171.10 rand.

But Astral Foods gained 4.6 percent to 100.74 rand after the poultry producer flagged at least a four-fold increase in first-half profit.

Famous Brands added 1.17 percent to 107.88 rand after the fast-food chain operator said full-year profit likely rose as much as 21 percent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 173 to 156, while 62 shares were unchanged.

($1 = 10.4625 South African Rand) (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng, editing by Louise Heavens)

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