South Africa's All-share index, the broadest measure of Johannesburg stock performance, edged to another record close on Friday, as a gain by index heavyweight MTN Group helped offset a sell-off in gold mining firms.
The benchmark Top-40 index ended in negative territory, however, reflecting concerns the market is starting to look overbought after rallying this week due to the long-awaited U.S. fiscal deal.
“After a big rally you expect the guys to sit back and mark time but I think there is still quite a bit of growth to be had,” said Desmond Reilly, a trader at Johannesburg broker PSG Securities.
“Things are starting to settle down and the guys are getting a bit more optimistic about the world economy as a whole.”
Markets started the year buoyed by the deal to avoid a fiscal crisis in the world's biggest economy, and were also encouraged by an improved outlook from China, South Africa's biggest bilateral trading partner.
The All-share finished up 0.07 percent at 40,274.79, its highest finish on record. The benchmark Top-40 index fell 0.02 percent to 35,775.90.
The All-share and the Top-40 may struggle to gain ground in the short term, as the 14-day RSI - a measure of momentum watched by technical analysts - is well past the overbought level of 70 for both indices.
Shares of mobile network operator MTN added more than 2 percent to 177.80 rand, while retailers Woolworths and Truworths both gained 2 percent.
All three stocks were investor favourites in 2011, on expectations they will benefit more from rising consumer spending.
Gold stocks weighed on the market with South Africa's largest producers AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields among the worst performers.
Spot gold prices fell 1.6 percent to their lowest since late August after US Federal Reserve minutes indicated growing concerns over its monetary stimulus programme.
Shares of Harmony Gold shed almost 4 percent to 71.50 rand. South Africa's third largest gold producer said on Friday that it has decided to keep its Kusasalethu mine closed while it conducts a financial and operational review.
The mine, 65 kms (40 miles) west of Johannesburg, has been hurt by strike action, illegal sit-ins and violence since August last year.
Shares of AngloGold ended 3.36 percent lower at 259.50 rand while Gold Fields ended 3.07 percent lower at 103.26 rand.
After two days of thin trade, volumes picked up during the session with 122 million shares changing hands according to preliminary exchange data. Advancers outnumbered decliners, 155 to 149. - Reuters