Mining stocks drag JSE down

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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 fell 1 percent on Wednesday, lead by Anglo American Platinum as investors remained cautious about recovery in the mining sector after the end of a five-month strike.

Thousands of miners downed tools at Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin in January demanding higher pay, and only returned to work on Wednesday after sealing three-year wage deals with the companies.

“A lot of talk has come out about the real cost of the strike, the reality of the whole thing,” said Ferdi Heyneke, portfolio manager at Afrifocus.

“There could be retrenchments which will cause volatility, and we are seeing the impact of that on the shares.”

Amplats shares fell 6.16 percent to 457 rand, making it the biggest decliner on the day, while Implats was down 4.05 percent to 109.37 rand.

Lonmin shed 3.81 percent to end at 43.90 rand.

The JSE Top-40 index ended down 1.06 percent at 45,383 and the broader All-share index also gave up 1.06 percent to 50,350.

The losses extended to other mining shares, with Africa's top gold producer, AngloGold Ashanti, falling 3.08 percent to 175.37 rand, while Sibanye Gold was down 3.2 percent to 27.51 rand.

Trading volumes were relatively thin with about 149 million shares, or just over 70 percent of the daily average, changing hands. Declining shares outnumbered gainers, 234 to 101. - Reuters

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