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

Johannesburg - South African stocks were steady on Friday, a day after booking their biggest one-day fall in nearly a year, as shares of mining firms recovered while some retailers tumbled.

Shares of Exxaro fell 1.1 percent to 172.10 rand after the diversified miner said it expected full-year earnings to drop by as much as 41 percent, worse than market expectations.

“We started a bit firmer after the big sell-off yesterday, the market was following the European markets firmer,” said Malcolm Moller, an equities trader at Vunani Securities.

“But the guys are selling off the retailers and some of the banks are coming off again.”

The benchmark Top-40 index was largely steady at 35,249.89.

The index on Thursday booked its biggest one-day fall since early April 2012 after falling more than 2 percent.

The broader All-share index closed at 39,657.82.

Shares of platinum and gold companies recovered after being hammered the previous sessions as disappointing earnings dampened investor appetite.

Sibanye Gold rose nearly 3 percent to 13.21 rand, while Impala Platinum was up 1.5 percent at 139 rand.

Retailers - some of the best performers last year - lost ground, hit by concerns stock prices have surpassed their growth potential.

Upscale clothing retailer Truworths fell 3 percent to 96 rand, while massmarket firm Mr Price closed at 118.88 rand, down 1.34 percent.

Over 173 million shares were traded, according to preliminary bourse statistics, with advancers outpacing decliners 151 to 143, while 60 shares were unchanged. - Reuters