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

Johannesburg - South African stocks ended slightly lower on Wednesday, snapping a two-day winning streak, as miners came under pressure from a stronger rand and faltering metal prices.

The benchmark JSE Top-40 index was down 0.27 percent at 46,351 and the broader All-share index inched down 0.23 percent to 51,610.

“The rand is little firmer and the price of iron ore continues to pull back and that is keeping diversified miners under some pressure,” said Rabi Thithi, a trader at Avior Research.

The rand, whose strength puts pressure on dollar-denominated earnings at mining companies, firmed for the second straight day while iron ore hit its lowest in nearly two years as a rise in supply outstripped demand from China.

Iron ore producer Kumba Iron Ore lost 1.3 percent to 329.30 rand while rival Assore lost 1.1 percent to 324.52 rand and African Rainbow Minerals retreated 0.75 percent to 184.61 rand.

In earnings news, Imperial Holdings gained as investors cheered a dividend payout even after the transport firm posted a fall in full-year profit.

Shares in the company were up 1 percent at 197.15 rand, reversing losses suffered early in the session.

Discovery climbed 1.9 percent to 100 rand after the insurer flagged as much as 50 percent surge in full-year earnings.

Trade was robust with 206 million shares changing owners, well above last year's daily average of about 176 million shares. - Reuters