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

Johannesburg - South African stocks edged up on Monday, recovering from losses in the previous session as shares of unsecured lender African Bank Investments climbed more than 5 percent from a decade low.

The bank, commonly known as Abil, added 5.3 percent to 8.9 rand after it reported an expected first-half loss, with investors betting the worst may be over for the company.

“African Bank had already given guidance that they would take a huge loss,” said Desmond Reilly, an equity trader at PSG Securities. “Investors are seeing that possibly the shares were oversold now that the results are in black in white.”

Last week Abil fell to its lowest since 2004, after earlier announcing that bad debts had ballooned more than expected.

The benchmark Top-40 index rose 0.76 percent to 44,413.84.

The broader All-Share index gained 0.71 percent to 49,507.48.

Private hospital group Netcare jumped 3.4 percent to 26.51 rand, after earlier hitting a lifetime high of 26.90 rand.

The company, which also has operations in the UK, reported a 20 percent rise in first-half profit, thanks mainly to a weaker rand currency and strong local demand.

Mobile operator Vodacom fell 1.9 percent to 126.52 rand, after it said it would buy unlisted fixed-line phone operator Neotel for 7 billion rand.

The company also missed estimates for both full-year profit and its dividend.

Also in the negative were the trio of the world's largest platinum miners: Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum, as the wage strike in South Africa's platinum belt entered its 17th week .

Johannesburg-listed shares of Lonmin fell 1.9 percent to 42 rand after it said it had lost a third of its annual production due to the strike. Amplats fell 0.3 percent to 466.24 rand, and Impala gave up 1.7 percent to 115 rand.

More than 158 million shares traded hands, according to preliminary data from the Johannesburg bourse, with 117 shares declining and 177 advancing. - Reuters