The reception area of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. File picture: Leon Nicholas

Johannesburg - South African stocks fell for a third straight session on Thursday after a slew of financial results knocked prices of companies such as lender Standard Bank and mining firm Harmony Gold.

Shares of e-commerce firm Naspers retreated from a record high hit the previous day, ending down 4.68 percent at 1,365.40 rand.

Naspers jumped on Wednesday after China's Tencent, in which it owns over a third, reported higher first-half earnings.

The benchmark Top-40 index dipped 0.42 percent to 45,920 while the wider All-share index was down 0.38 percent to 51,073.

Standard Bank fell 3.43 percent to 140.85 rand after it took an $80 million (R844 million) hit from its exposure to suspected metal financing fraud in China, wiping out its first-half earnings growth.

Harmony, ending 1.23 percent lower at 33.86 rand, fell to a steep fourth-quarter loss because of a 1.4 billion rand write-down on an expansion project.

Also taking a hit after posting a full-year loss was Northam Platinum, falling 1 percent to 45.50 rand.

On the upside, gainers included dual-listed foreign firms such as brewer SABMiller, which gained 1.4 percent to 575.00 rand.

“There definitely seems to be a bit of demand in some of the dual-listed shares particularly in London as opposed to the local moves because of a stronger rand,” said Ferdi Heyneke, portfolio manager at Afrifocus. - Reuters