19/04/2010 A generic pic of the JSE board at Sandton JHB. Photo: Leon Nicholas

Johannesburg - South Africa's benchmark share index fell for the third straight day on Tuesday, weighed down by mining companies as worries about the euro zone debt crisis dented metal prices.

But recently beaten stocks including banks and retailers gained on views some of them may have been oversold, helping to restrict the downside momentum on the index.

The blue-chip JSE Top-40 index was off 0.4 percent at 35,809.56 and broader All-share index gave up 0.31 percent to 40,346.17.

“Concerns about what's happening in Europe have knocked confidence and put pressure on metal prices, but most sectors did not do all that badly,” said Greg Davies, a trader at Cratos Capital.

Exxaro skidded 2.53 percent to 160.10 rand as workers on a wildcat strike at five collieries of the diversified mining company rejected a one-off cash offer to return to work.

Kumba Iron Ore lost 3.98 percent to 486.05 rand and Anglo American Platinum was down 1.56 percent at 398.67 rand.

Elsewhere, luxury goods maker Richemont fell 2.86 percent to 74.85 rand after an institutional investor placed around 7 million shares.

Banks rose for the second straight day, recovering some ground lost over the last two weeks. Standard Bank was up 116.24 rand and rival FirstRand added 1.47 percent to 31.06 rand.

Retailers, the worst performers on the bourse so far this year, also recouped some losses with Woolworths up 2.21 percent at 70.20 rand and Shoprite rising 1.65 percent to 178 rand.

About 176 million shares changed hands, according to preliminary data, with 151 stocks gaining and 143 losing ground while 66 shares were unchanged. - Reuters