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

South African stocks hit record highs in early trade on Thursday, inching up as stronger-than-expected Chinese trade data helped lift resources firms like African Rainbow Minerals.

The benchmark Top-40 index was up 0.15 percent at 35,863.79 at 09:09 SA time, after earlier touching a record of 35,888.36.

The broader All-share was also slightly higher after hitting a new record of 40,392.84. - Reuters