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JOHANNESBURG Jan 28 South African stocks booked
record closes after turning positive in late Monday trading,
lifted by positive U.S. durable goods data and a strong showing
from locally listed shares of brewer SABMiller.
The broad All-Share index touched a new intraday
high in morning trade but stocks later turned negative, weighed
down by a bearish sentiment in global equities markets.
The index ended 0.2 percent higher at 40,618.32 while the
blue chip Top-40 index gained 0.26 percent to 36,157.58
- both record closing highs.
"Most of the guidance came from durable goods from the U.S.,
which comfortably beat expectations. That started pushing things
into positive territory," said Byron Lotter, portfolio manager
at wealth manager Vestact.
"That's another indication of the housing market in the U.S.
picking up, which is vital for the global economy because the
U.S. consumer is extremely important."
Retailers such as Mr. Price were among the
companies whose shares fell hard as investors booked profits
following a rally in the previous session. It dipped over 2.2
percent to 125 rand, while upmarket rival Woolworths
dropped 1.5 percent.
Cement producer PPC Ltd declined 3.6 percent after
the company indicated it could take a hit in its business in
Zimbabwe, where the government has been forcing foreign firms to
sell shares to locals.
Harmony Gold fell 3.3 percent to 62.14 rand as
investors fretted its mine closure would hit performance. South
Africa's third-biggest producer of the precious metal has closed
its lucrative Kusasalethu mine over security concerns following
months of labour unrest.
Johannesburg-listed shares of SABMiller benefited
from market chatter that its Chinese joint venture CR Snow was
in talks with Hong Kong-listed Kingway Brewery Holdings
. SABMiller climbed 1.5 percent to 438.30 rand.
Some 153 million shares were traded, according to
provisional bourse statistics. Advancers and decliners were tied
at 153 each while another 64 companies remained flat.
(Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Jon Herskovitz)