Johannesburg - South African stocks snapped a four-day rally on Tuesday, falling into the red with investors taking profits in stocks such as up-market retailer Woolworths, which have helped lead the recent surge.
“If you look at how Woolworths has performed the last couple of days, my gut feel is that it is profit taking with some guys taking some cash off the table,” said Mohammed Nalla, head of strategic research at Nedbank Capital.
Woolworths helped lead blue chips lower as it shed over 2 percent to 73.70 rand.
Over the previous three sessions it had added almost 5 percent.
Wal-Mart's South African unit Massmart was the biggest loser on the Top-40 index, dropping 2.8 percent, as it extended recent losses triggered in part by perceptions that lower-income consumers in the country are battling with high debt levels.
But its 14-day RSI, a momentum indicator monitored by technical analysts, suggest it has now strayed into oversold territory.
The Top-40 index fell 0.23 percent to 39,934.74.
The wider All-share index ended 0.2 percent lower at 44,640.98.
Advancers pipped decliners 164 to 154 with 52 issues unchanged.
Around 180 million shares changed hands. - Reuters