JSE stocks drift lower

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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 an advance by Lonmin Plc offset a decline in Sibanye Gold, which was hammered after a trading update.

Shares of small-cap mining house DRDGold surged nearly 9 percent to 2.88 rand after it said it would sell some mining rights and assets for 220 million rand ($21 million).

Johannesburg-listed shares of Lonmin, the country's third-largest platinum mining firm, jumped 5 percent to 42.80 rand after it said it would lift production to 80 percent of normal levels by September, as it recovers from a five-month strike.

Investors, who had worried about the impact of the strike on the company, were reassured by the news.

“The key positive is that the balance sheet appears in reasonable shape,” Investec said in a note to clients.

The benchmark Top-40 index fell 0.14 percent to 46,384.

The broad All-Share index also fell 0.14 percent to 51,550.

Gold mining firm Sibanye Gold tumbled more than 9 percent to 26.26 rand after it said it expected first-half headline earnings per share (EPS) to fall by more than 50 percent, hit by an increase in the number of its outstanding shares.

Headline EPS, the main measure of profit in South Africa, excludes some one-time items.

Shares of Anglo American Plc, which like Lonmin has its primary listing in London, rose more than 3 percent in Johannesburg trade.

The mining giant's chief executive said on Friday he was confident he could deliver on a promised improvement in the business over the next two years, despite weak commodity prices.

Trade was active, with 185 million shares changing hands according to preliminary bourse data, which compared with last year's daily average of 176 million. - Reuters

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