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

Johannesburg - South African stocks started the week by hitting a series of record highs as investors snapped up platinum and gold producers such as Harmony Gold, betting impending strikes would lead to higher metal prices.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) issued notices to gold and platinum producers for strikes starting on Thursday, which would likely squeeze global output.

“If we do get labour unrest, it provides support for some of the underlying metals or commodity prices,” said Mohammed Nalla, head of strategic research at Nedbank Capital.

The benchmark Top-40 index finished up 0.63 percent at 42,240.94, its highest close on record. It earlier scaled an all-time high of 42,285.34.

The broader All-share index advanced 0.55 percent to 46,934.59, also topping a life record at 46,974.14 in earlier trade.

Harmony Gold jumped 4.8 percent to 30.91 rand, while bigger producer AngloGold Ashanti rose 4.6 percent to 151.21 rand.

AMCU has also issued strike notices to Lonmin and Impala Platinum, which helped send those shares 2.8 and 1.1 percent higher respectively.

Retailers moved in the opposite direction, extending a recent slide after their latest sales figures fell short of investor expectations.

Shoprite, a discount grocer that also has operations in Zambia and Nigeria, fell more than 2 percent at 148.45 rand.

One of the 10 most expensive stocks on the Top-40 with a price-to-earnings ratio of 22, Shoprite said on Friday first-half sales were up 9.6 percent, disappointing investors who were expecting bigger growth.

Furniture seller Lewis Group lost nearly 3 percent to 68.35 rand.

Trade volume was fairly robust, with 145 million shares changing hands according to preliminary bourse data. - Reuters