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

Johannesburg - South African stocks briefly hit a record high on Friday but finished the session lower as global spot bullion prices pulled local gold producers lower.

Johannesburg's gold producers index ended 2 percent lower after spot prices shed as much as 0.6 percent.

The Top-40 index was down 0.12 percent to 44,929.10 after touching a life high of 45,129.49 earlier in the session.

The All-share index shed 0.13 percent to 49,933.99.

It also earlier hit a life record at 50,120.69.

One trader said despite the slight drop, South African stocks were likely to catch up with global equities which have been boosted by a stimulus programme in Europe and encouraging US employment figures.

“There is going to continue to be a quite a bit of momentum still. That (global) market may continue to push our market up as well. We are slightly down at the moment but it is a mixed market,” said Ferdi Heyneke, portfolio manager at Afrifocus.

“Next week, unless anything happens, this strong underlying trend could continue. The mining situation is going to remain volatile until there some sort of resolution,” he said, referring to wage negotiations in the platinum sector.

Miners at three major platinum producers have been on strike for five months, demanding an entry monthly salary of 12,500 rand.

The negotiations were at a “sensitive stage”, mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi said on Friday, a day after the miners' union said their demands were “non-negotiable”.

No. 3 platinum producer Lonmin fell 2.7 percent and on the gold front, Harmony and Sibanye slid more than 3 percent, while No. 1 producer AngloGold Ashanti was down 2 percent.

More than 162 million shares were traded as 154 companies declined, while 151 others gained. - Reuters