July 25, 2012 / 3:52 PM / 7 years ago

South African stocks inch higher, track global markets

* Top-40 rises 0.14 percent to 29,911.58

* All-share up 0.21 percent at 34,069.59

By Tiisetso Motsoeneng

JOHANNESBURG, July 24 (Reuters) - South African stocks ended slightly higher on Wednesday on fresh hopes for a solution to the euro zone debt crisis, although gains were limited by nagging concerns about the global economy and a downbeat start on Wall Street.

The benchmark JSE Top-40 index added 0.14 percent to 29,911.58 and the broader All-share index gained 0.21 percent to 34,069.59.

“Economic data from Europe is not encouraging but some of these stocks have been hit hard in recent days and that has opened up an opportunity for bargain hunting,” Kevin Algeo, a trader at Imara SP Reid said.

Equities worldwide gained some ground after a European Central Bank official raised the prospect of new steps to strengthen the euro zone’s new bailout fund. But weak economic data from Germany and Britain capped further gains.

Truworths, South Africa’s biggest listed clothes retailer, was the top performer of the blue-chip index, adding 3.57 percent to 98 rand, extending gains after saying full-year profit rose as much as 17 percent.

Wireless phones group MTN Group, a top three dividend payer on the benchmark index, climbed 2.6 percent to 147.15 rand.

Gold miners also featured on the gainers’ list, helped by technical factors and higher bullion price. Harmony was up 3.4 percent to 75.68 rand, AngloGold Ashanti added 1.56 percent to 271.75 rand and Gold Fields edged up 0.6 percent to 103.66 rand.

On the downside, British American Tobacco dipped 1.5 percent to 436.10 rand after posting an expected 7 percent rise in half-year profit.

Chemicals and explosives maker AECI dropped 2.8 percent to 86.25 rand after reporting a 60 percent drop in first-half earnings.

Hit by an 84 percent drop in half-year earnings, ArcelorMittal’s South African unit retreated 2.6 percent to 46.81 rand.

Trade was relatively slow, with 188 million shares changing hands on the JSE, compared with last year’s daily average of 255 million shares. (Editing by David Dolan)

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