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

Johannesburg - South African stocks extended their winning run to a fourth straight session on Thursday, with Capitec leading the gainers after the lender flagged higher profits.

Capitec rallied 9.07 percent to 232 rand, its biggest daily percentage gain in more than six years, boosted by news that its first-half profit likely rose as much as 22 percent.

The profit guidance allayed investor concerns about Capitec's exposure to unsecured loans following the collapse of rival African Bank.

“Capitec is not just an unsecured lender, it's not even just a banker for the poor,” said Jean Pierre Verster, an analyst at 36One Asset Management.

“The details that they give are very positive, specifically that they've attracted clients in higher-income groups as well.”

Overall, investors took their cue from positive sentiment in major overseas markets after the European Central Bank cut interest rates to record low.

The JSE Top-40 index gained 0.62 percent to 46,674 and the broader All-share index was up 0.56 percent at 52,081.

Other movers included MTN Group, which climbed 2.7 percent to 257.31 rand after the wireless phones operator sold towers for an estimated $1.8 billion.

On the downside, African Rainbow Minerals gave up 2.6 percent to 174 rand after the diversified miner missed estimates with a 9.5 percent increase in annual profit.

At least 187 million shares changed hands, according to preliminary bourse statistics, with advancers outpacing decliners 180 to 129. - Reuters