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JSE stocks retreat on Fed tapering worries

Johannesburg - South African fell for the second session in a row on Monday, tracking other emerging market assets lower as expectations grew that the US will trim its stimulus programme this week.

Eqstra topped the decliners' list after the mining equipment leasing firm warned first-half profit likely fell as much as 29 percent. Its stock plunged 9.2 percent to 7.40 rand, the biggest one-day decline in more than 12 months.

The JSE is seen in this file photo: Leon Nicholas. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

Investors are bracing for a volatile week as the US Federal Reserve is expected to continue reducing its monthly bond-buying programme, a source of dollar flows into emerging markets such as South Africa.

“Emerging market assets continue to take big knocks ahead of the Fed's meeting and it seems like everyone is sitting on cash waiting for the pull back to settle down before they get back in,” said Tiaan Heydenrich, a trader at PSG Securities.

The JSE Top-40 index fell 1.55 percent to 41,090.64 and the broader All-share index was down 1.53 percent at 45,750.70.

Naspers skidded 5.05 percent to 1,034.63 rand, falling for the second straight day, tracking a slide in its Chinese cash-cow Tencent Holdings.

The media and e-commerce company is the most expensive stock among Johannesburg's blue chips, trading at a historical price to earnings ratio of 85 times compared with about 20 times for the Top-40 index.

PPC Ltd lost 2.7 percent to 29.51 rand after the cement maker reported weak quarterly volume growth in key markets.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 242 to 74, with nearly 200 million shares changing hands, according to preliminary bourse data. - Reuters

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