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

Johannesburg - South African stocks ended slightly lower on Tuesday after booking all-time closing highs in the previous session, as profit-taking in resource shares and technical factors took some of the steam out of the market.

Africa's top bullion producer AngloGold Ashanti and Kumba Iron Ore were the biggest decliners among blue chips, losing 4.75 percent and 3.25 percent respectively.

“The commodities took the market down today on some profit-taking. They have done well so far this year and now it's time for a bit of a breather,” said Abri du Plessis, chief investment officer at Gryphon Asset Management.

A fall in the spot bullion price knocked Gold Fields shares 3.20 percent lower to 36.25 rand, despite an announcement that it expected 2013 production of 2.02 million ounces, higher than its previous guidance to the market.

The Top-40 index closed down 0.11 percent at 42,195.76. The wider All-share index shed 0.1 percent to 46,889.64.

The 14-day relative strength index, a momentum indicator tracked by technical analysts, suggests both indices are very close to overbought levels, heralding a possible correction.

Among gainers on Tuesday, world No. 1 platinum producer Anglo American Platinum surprised by adding 2.2 percent to 417.65 rand even as a strike is set to start at its operations and those of rivals Impala Platinum and Lonmin on Thursday.

But dissidents in South Africa's AMCU union which is behind the threatened strike are forming a rival to the militant labour group, suggesting the stoppage could fizzle out.

“There is a lot of speculation that there could be a resolution because of the divisions on the labour front,” said Du Plessis.

Decliners on the bourse pipped advancers 154 to 144, with 178 million shares changing hands, according to preliminary data. - Reuters