Johannesburg - South Africa's All-share index, the broadest measure of Johannesburg stock performance, was stable on Thursday as gains by financial companies such as RMB Holdings helped offset a sell-off in gold mining firms.
Large producers AngloGold Ashanti and Gold Fields were among the worst performers.
The All-share finished 0.08 percent higher at 40,908.58 after touching a record 41,047.72 earlier. The benchmark Top-40 index rose 0.12 percent to 36,372.09.
“We are pretty volatile and still a bit mixed,” said Ferdi Heyneke, portfolio manager at Afrifocus Securities.
“Mining shares are still struggling in places and even though the rand has been very weak, sentiment amongst mining shares like Kumba has been negative.”
Kumba Iron Ore was the biggest loser on the benchmark index, sliding over 5 percent as iron ore prices sank to their lowest levels for the year, pressured by weak steel demand in top consumer China.
Gold mining firms made an about turn from recent rallies after production figures released on Thursday showed output volume shrunk 8 percent year-on-year in January.
Producers such as AngloGold Ashanti have been on an upward trend for most of this week on the back of higher bullion prices and the effect of a weaker rand.
On Thursday AngloGold shed 1.7 percent and smaller rival Gold Fields lost over 2 percent to 72.50 rand.
Financial companies recovered after a sell off in previous sessions. RMB Holdings led the pack, gaining over 2 percent while insurer Old Mutual added 1.7 percent.
Trading volumes slowed down during the session, with 188 million shares changing hands, according to preliminary exchange data. An average 185 million were traded daily over the past year. Decliners outnumbered advancers on Thursday, at 146 to 137. - Reuters