October 21, 2013 / 4:15 PM / 4 years ago

South African shares hit life highs on global rally

* Top-40 and All-share indices up 0.5 pct

* Kumba Iron Ore extends losses

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 21 (Reuters) - South African shares hit life highs on Monday in line with a global equities rally ahead of U.S. economic data and as retailer Mr Price flagged an improvement in its six-month earnings.

Kumba Iron Ore extended losses, shedding another 2 percent. The company reported a 16 percent drop in third-quarter production last week and warned it could miss sales targets for the year, which sent shares tumbling 7.6 percent on Friday.

Both the Top-40 and All-share indices finished at their highest closes on record, chalking up more than 0.5 percent in gains to 40,096.58 and 44,926.71 respectively.

The U.S. non-farm payrolls figures that are due on Tuesday are seen as particularly important and some investors are positioning for a strong reading.

If the statistics beat forecasts, it could renew the debate over whether the U.S. Federal Reserve would still taper its stimulus programme this year or not, injecting volatility into the markets.

“Everyone is really sitting on the sidelines in anticipation of the non-farm payrolls which will be released tomorrow,” said Oliver Russell, a trader at Global Trader.

Clothes and home ware retailer Mr Price was up more than 2 percent after it said earnings for the first 26 weeks of its financial year likely grew by as much as 22 percent.

Sycom Property Fund jumped more than 4.6 percent after it announced it would be acquiring a 50 percent stake in a shopping centre.

Investors exchanged 127 million shares as 181 companies advanced and another 111 declined. ($1 = 9.8174 South African rand) (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Ed Stoddard)

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