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

Johannesburg - South African stocks gained for the third straight session on Thursday, led by e-commerce and media group Naspers, which mirrored a sharp rise in Chinese Internet giant Tencent in which it owns over a third.

Naspers has had a rocky up and down week as it has tracked Tencent, which soared on Thursday after Beijing's securities regulator said it would allow cross-border stock investment between Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Tencent jumped 7.8 percent on the news, registering its highest one-day percentage gain since end-2011.

This in turn helped lift Naspers over 4 percent to 1,140.78 rand, making it the biggest blue-chip advancer on the day.

Gold shares also shone as bullion's spot price rose nearly 1 percent to a 2-1/2 week high as the dollar dropped after minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting suggested officials will be cautious on increasing interest rates soon.

Harmony Gold led the way, shooting up 4.70 percent, and dealers said more gains looked to be on the cards.

“It's to be expected that gold stocks would find favour again given that they've been under a huge amount of pressure over the last six to eight weeks,” said Ryan Woods of Independent Securities.

The benchmark Top-40 index rose 0.40 percent to 43,609.39 rand, while the broader All-share index added a heftier 0.49 percent to book a record close of 48,529.88.

Advancers pipped decliners 164 to 144 while almost 223 million shares changed hands. - Reuters