JSE stocks edge higher

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JSE1 Independent Newspapers The JSE. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

South African stocks edged higher on Tuesday, with shares in Avusa providing the highlight as they leapt almost 9 percent after the media group received a $134 million offer.

The JSE Top-40 blue-chip index closed up 0.76 percent at 29,882.54 and the broader All-share index gained 0.71 percent to 33,855.46.

“We were pretty quiet from a trading side today. No big movements today. No clear direction and I think people are waiting for more news flow,' said BoE Stockbrokers trader Andrew Bryson.

Stealing the limelight from the recent interest in commodity stocks, Avusa's shares closed at 22.31 rand after its largest shareholder, Mvelaphanda, which holds a 21 percent stake, said it wanted to buy the rest of Avusa's shares.

The cash and share deal will be done through the industrial group's Richtrau unit, which it plans to spin-off and list separately.

Resources stocks such as Exxaro and Kumba Iron Ore continued to shine with the diversified miners both recording gains of just over 2 percent.

Exxaro plans to list New Tronox, its $3.4 billion paint-making ingredient joint venture, on the New York Stock Exchange next week.

With its main focus on producing coal, Exxaro sold its mineral sands operations to US-based pigment producer Tronox for a 38.5 percent stake in the new entity last year.

On the other end of the scale, platinum miners continued to feel pain. Lonmin lost another 1.7 percent and smaller rival Aquarius Platinum closed almost 3 percent lower.

Stock in Aquarius fell as much as 8 percent during the day to touch their lowest since 2004 after Citi cut its price target, citing the company's suspension of operations at its Marikana joint venture in South Africa.

“We are mindful and concerned about the platinum industry and its many, many challenges,” Mines Minister Susan Shabangu said after a presentation to a Johannesburg business school.

A total of 187 million shares changed hands, according to preliminary data from the exchange. Advancers outnumbered decliners 146 to 125 and 82 stocks remained unchanged. - Reuters

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