South African shares closed 0.7 percent lower on Thursday, tracking a downbeat mood in global markets, and looked set to remain volatile with global investors keeping their money in less risky assets.
Miners such as African Rainbow Minerals and Kumba Iron Ore were among the bigger decliners, falling over 2 percent each.
“Our market is being brought down by commodities and resource stocks. Everyone is worried about demand going forward while commodities are pulling back,” said Byron Lotter, portfolio manager at Vestact.
“It's still about Europe pending the Greek election on Sunday. There has been hardly any market activity as people await the outcome of the elections and the big decisions which need to be made.”
Global markets are bracing for possible turmoil if the outcome of Greece's elections on Sunday prompts panic flight of capital from the bloc to more stable regions.
Johannesburg's Top-40 index shed 0.68 percent to 29,845.01 and the wider All-Share measure dropped 0.62 percent to 33,826.01.
Mining shares are usually the first to suffer in shaky economic times because of the expected drop in factory production in industrial nations, and the knock-on effect that has on commodity prices.
The mining index shed 1 percent while gold producers lost 1.55 percent.
However, mining contractor Sentula bucked the trend to rise 2.7 percent to 1.90 rand after reporting a 35 percent jump in full-year earnings. The shares initially leapt over 7 percent on the news.
Takeover target Avusa Ltd gained as brokerage house UBS raised the media and entertainment firm's price target to 24 rand from 21 rand.
The shares in the owner of Sunday Times and Nu-Metro cinemas added more than 2 percent to 23.01 rand, which is still below the offer of 24 rand per share by its top shareholder Mvelaphanda Group.
Trade at Johannesburg's bourse was relatively slow with 168 million shares exchanging hands from 220 million previously, according to preliminary market data. Decliners outpaced advancers 158 to 113 while 69 remained unchanged. - Reuters