19/04/2010 A generic pic of the JSE board at Sandton JHB. Photo: Leon Nicholas

South African shares rose 0.4 percent on Friday as global equities rallied on talk of a joint effort by world central banks to ease any market upset after Greece's election this weekend.

Central banks from Tokyo to London are stockpiling their ammunition in preparation for any turmoil from the Greek poll as tension rises about how to manage the euro zone's debt crisis.

“The big thing is everybody will wait and see what happens, but most of the central banks in the world are prepared to come in and help if there is any trouble,” said Malcom Moller, an equities trader at Vunani.

Officials from the G20 nations, whose leaders are meeting in Mexico next week, say numerous central banks are preparing to take steps to stabilise financial markets - if needed - by providing liquidity and prevent any credit squeeze.

The Top-40 index closed up 0.44 percent to 29,977.28 and the All-Share rose 0.4 percent to 33,959.87.

Johannesburg shares of world No. 3 platinum producer Lonmin were the biggest blue-chip gainers, closing 4.3 percent higher after brokerage Goldman Sachs raised its price target for the company, which has its primary listing in London.

“They are not as negative as they have previously been on the stock,” said Roche Kilian, a trader at Thebe Stock Broking. The platinum price has also been gaining this week in line with a broader rally in precious metals.

Investors were also ploughing into defensive stocks such as investment bank and asset manager Investec and Shoprite, Moller said.

The supermarket chain Shoprite was up 2.8 percent at 150.60 rand, while Investec gained 3.3 percent to 46.94 rand.

“They are going into the defensive shares because they are worried about what is going to happen over the weekend. So they are not into commodities at this stage,” Moller said.

Trade was robust with 192 million shares changing hands, from 198 million in the previous session. Advancers outpaced decliners 155 to 124. Another 65 stocks remain unchanged. - Reuters