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JOHANNESBURG Jan 24 South African stocks closed
on Thursday at new peaks as world shares hovered near
multi-month highs and a weaker rand made local shares cheaper
for foreign investors.
Gains were generally across the board, with luxury-goods
maker Richemont the biggest riser among blue chips,
adding 3 percent to 74.62 rand as it rebounded from a sell-off
sparked by disappointing sales figures earlier in the week.
The All-share index ended the day 1.04 percent
higher day at a new peak of 40,604.59, while the benchmark
Top-40 also finished at a record, climbing 1.15 percent
to 36,151.00. It was the second straight day of gains for
"It all points to the weaker currency and global markets
being at multi-year highs," said Sasha Naryshkine, an analyst at
asset manager Vestact.
South Africa's rand fell to its lowest in nearly four years
against the dollar on Thursday as investors concerned about the
risk from labour unrest and violent protests opted for other
emerging market assets.
The sour sentiment towards the rand could spread to equities
and cap gains going forward.
Headwinds are gathering on other fronts. Technical
indicators suggest both indices have strayed into overbought
territory while global markets could move off their multi-month
highs because of growth an earnings worries.
Apple's revelation on Wednesday that revenues had
missed forecasts for the third straight quarter are among the
jolts that are starting to give global equity investors pause.
South African stocks have been on a record run for months,
defying a gloomy economic outlook including sluggish growth and
widespread labour and social unrest.
The central bank on Thursday cut its economic growth
forecasts to 2.6 percent for this year from a 2.9 percent
expectation previously, saying growth remained below potential,
as it kept its key lending rate on hold at 5.0 percent.
(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Ed Cropley)