JSE stocks rise

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The JSE. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

South African stocks rose on Wednesday despite spreading labour unrest in the mining sector which thumped shares of Anglo American Platinum, with the wider market pulled up on renewed hopes the euro zone can contains its debt crisis.

Shares of world No. 1 platinum producer Amplats were hammered, falling 4.05 percent to 417.50 rand, after it was also caught up in the labour strife that has shut smaller rival Lonmin for 5 weeks amid violence that has killed 45 people so far.

Amplats, a unit of global mining giant Anglo American, suspended some of its South African operations to protect its employees from protestors who demanded its mines also shut.

Still, investors found solace after Germany's top court gave its go-ahead to the euro zone's new rescue fund which lifted shares worldwide and the market also anticipated more liquidity from the US Federal Reserve.

The blue-chip Top-40 index closed up 0.86 percent at 31,533.63. The broader All-share index was up 0.82 percent at 35,736.41.

The German Constitutional Court allowed Germany to ratify the new rescue fund and budget, but gave parliament veto powers over future increases in the size of the fund.

All eyes are also on the crucial meeting of the US Federal Reserve though local gains may be capped by investor nervousness around the mining violence.

“We are still hampered with the uncertainty around the mining strikes. But we are waiting to see now what the US Federal Reserve is going to say,” said Ferdi Heyneke, a portfolio manager at Afrifocus Securities.

The Federal Reserve begins a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday and markets expect it to announce more easing measures when the meeting concludes on Thursday.

Gainers on Wednesday in Johannesburg included investment bank Investec, which rose 3.5 percent to 52.65 rand, and global miner BHP Billiton, which gained 2.85 percent to 257.70 rand.

Johannesburg-listed shares of platinum producer Aquarius added 5.88 percent to 5.40 rand as the spot price of the precious metal hit a 5-month high on the labour troubles in South Africa.

Gold Fields extended losses to end 2.29 percent lower at 102.70 rand. Around 15,000 workers at Gold Fields' KDC West mine are on an illegal strike that started on Sunday night and a union said the contagion looked set to spread to another one of the company's operations.

Trade was thin with 173 million shares changing hands on the bourse compared to last year's daily average of 255 million.

Advancers outpaced decliners 167 to 113, while 61 stocks were unchanged. - Reuters


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