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CAPE TOWN - The rand was slightly stronger in early trade yesterday and remained within a R12.04 and R12.11 range throughout the day with eyes on the release of consumer price index (CPI) and retail sales data this week.

Head market analyst and director at Dynamic Outcomes, James Paynter, said he expected the domestic currency to push lower before climbing above R12.14.

At 5pm yesterday the rand was unchanged from it’s Friday bid at the same time at R12.08 to the dollar. Against the pound, the local unit was 10c softer at R17.31 and eased 4c at R14.94 against the euro.

Director and head of dealing at TreasuryOne, Wichard Cilliers said: “We need to keep an eye on the CPI number as this will give us an indication if further rate cuts will be on the cards and also if the inflation number will continue to support the currency.”

He said if inflation started to pick up the rand would need to start weakening to keep the purchasing power parity.

On the JSE, 108 stocks closed higher, 122 closed lower and 191 were unchanged.

The blue chip Top40 index added 0.48percent to 50121.2 points, while the broader all share index inched up 0.3percent to 56733.47 points.

Top gainers among large caps were Hammerson, which added 3.41percent to R83.91, followed by South32, up 3.4percent to R34.10. Bidvest increased 3.19percent to R232.77, Aspen inched up 2.82percent to R261 and PSG Group was 2.05percent higher to close at R229.81.

Leading losers were Kumba Iron Ore, which tanked 5.56percent to R268.32, followed by Anglo American Platinum, which sank 1.93percent to R306.

Sasol declined 1.55percent to R424.95, Rand Merchant Investment Holdings gave up 1.46percent to R40.45 and British American Tobacco was 1.41percent lower to end the day at R701.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Wall Street rose while oil and government bond prices fell yesterday on the view that the weekend’s US-led missile strikes on Syria were unlikely to mark the start of a broader conflict.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 190.35 points, or 0.78percent, to 24550.49 points in afternoon trade. The S&P 500 had gained 16.89 points, or 0.64percent, to 2673.19 points.

- BUSINESS REPORT