STOCKS ended a muted session a tad higher yesterday, as battered-down mining firms tracked global equities on hopes of policy action from central banks to counter signs of a faltering global economy.
The Top40 index of blue chips edged up 0.18 percent to 31 227.59 points and the all share index was 0.27 percent higher at 35 485.10 points.
Gold producers such as AngloGold Ashanti were among some of the biggest gainers, recouping recent losses on higher metal prices and as investors overlooked spreading labour unrest in the mining industry.
“The guys have been rallying around the fact that poor economic numbers encourage central bankers across the world to act strongly in terms of throwing stimulus at the market,” Global Trader head of trading Nilan Norar said.
Separate surveys showed manufacturing activity in China and Europe slowed more than expected last month, highlighting the poor health of the global economy.
AngloGold Ashanti rose 2.43 percent to close at R269.28. Gold Fields edged up 0.56 percent to R101.60, despite a strike by about 12 000 workers since Wednesday. Harmony Gold added 0.67 percent at R68.70.
However, Australian-based Gold One International lost 2.09 percent to close at R3.75 after saying half of its staff were blocked by ex-workers from reporting for duty yesterday.
Construction company WBHO jumped 4.71 percent to end trade at R138 after it lifted its dividend by 6 percent and its order book by 30 percent.
Absa was among the worst performers, falling 2 percent to R139.39, as the South African unit of Barclays starts trading without the rights to its next dividend payout.
Shares in Mvelaphanda Group remained unchanged at R3.29 as the company said it suffered full-year losses of as much as 17c a share. It owns stakes in Absa and Group Five.
Trade was thin, with just 109 million shares changing hands compared with the daily average of 255 million shares last year.