JSE platinum shares get hammered

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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 were little changed on Friday as gains in investor favourites such as Richemont and Mondi Ltd outweighed losses by platinum producers.

Investors hammered Impala Platinum and its rivals over concerns Zimbabwe will force companies to build a refinery or face a ban on raw exports.

Impala, which has operations in Zimbabwe, fell 4.3 percent to 112.96 rand.

Stocks were also hit by a surprisingly soft US jobs numbers for December.

That heightened concern about the outlook for Africa's largest economy, which is hampered by sluggish growth and high levels of household debt.

“There are still plenty of challenges. Domestic constraints will hold back growth in South Africa,” Capital Economics said in a research report on Friday.

“The prospects for East Africa and Nigeria are much better than those of the region's largest economy.”

The benchmark Top-40 index inched up 0.28 percent to 40,834.33.

The broader All-Share index added 0.23 percent to 45,548.15.

But investors continued to pile into the likes of Richemont and Mondi.

They were some of the best-performing stocks last year, because of their exposure to overseas markets and the weakening rand.

Johannesburg-traded shares of Richemont, the maker of Mont Blanc pens and Cartier watches, rose 2.9 percent to 104 rand.

Mondi, a papermaker with operations in Europe that reports its earnings in euros, gained 1.4 percent to 174.82 rand.

After the close of trade, shareholders of Chile's CFR Pharmaceuticals approved at a meeting in Santiago a sweetened takeover bid for South Africa's Adcock Ingram .

Adcock investors are expected to vote on CFR's $1.2 billion cash and share offer sometime next month.

The deal, which requires approval of investors holding 75 percent, is unlikely to go through as opponents have already amassed at least 29 percent of Adcock.

Shares of Adcock finished up 0.85 percent at 70.85 rand.

Trade was thin with just 142 million shares changing hands. - Reuters

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