JSE in first monthly fall since January

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IOL image JSE interior view INDEPENDENT MEDIA The JSE is seen in this file photo: Leon Nicholas.

Johannesburg - South African stocks wrapped up the month on weak note on Friday, ensuring the main indices posted their first monthly decline since January amid lingering concerns over the economy.

South Africa narrowly avoided slipping into recession this month but there remain a lengthening list of problems for Africa's most developed economy, including weak growth, inflation, high household debt and labour unrest.

A series of dismal corporate earnings this month, including from index heavyweight Shoprite, have also dampened investors appetite, just as developed markets like the United States begin to show more promise.

“Our market had been tracking Wall Street over the past few months but that has not been the case lately,” said Petri Redelinghuys, a trader at Inkunzi Investments.

“Offshore investors are saying: 'why keep our money in South Africa when the US economy is picking up?' That's sounds sensible given high valuations and poor earnings results.”

The benchmark JSE Top-40 index was down 0.46 percent at 45,630, bringing losses for the month to about 1.3 percent.

The broader All-share index dipped 0.34 percent to 50,959.

Mining shares featured on the decliners' list as industrial metal prices continue to falter on worries about demand from the world's top consumer, China.

Assore declined 2.11 percent to 314.74 rand, Anglo American Platinum lost 2.2 percent to 443.10 rand and Kumba Iron Ore inched down 0.28 percent to 318.50 rand.

Elsewhere, Bidvest Group slumped 2.6 percent to 281.32 rand ahead of the release of the industrial conglomerate's annual results on Monday.

On the upside, Aspen Pharmacare climbed 2.6 percent to 305.65 rand after the drugmaker flagged as much as 31 percent increase annual profit.

Activity was relatively robust with 166 million shares traded with advancers outpacing decliners 153 to 152 companies. - Reuters

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