The JSE. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

South Africa's All-Share index closed at a fresh life-time high on Tuesday, led by mining stocks such as Lonmin and drawing comfort from signs that Europe was inching closer to resolving its debt crisis.

Markets have been buoyed by a return of risk appetite ever since the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said he would do “whatever it takes” to save the euro.

Miners, which have largely undeperformed this year, have seen some respite as of late.

“After a number of days of very negative sentiment regarding resources and now some global news flow, which could mean that European politicians are on track to look for a sustainable solution to their debt issues ... maybe resources have been sold off enough,” said Jean Pierre Verster, an analyst at 36ONE Asset Management.

The All-Share index closed 0.05 percent higher at 35,487.26, after touching a lifetime high of 35,621.11.

The Top-40 index came within 40 points of its record high during the session but closed up 0.1 percent at 31,224.75, its highest finish since May 2008.

Risk-sensitive miners proved the biggest support to the index, boosted by expectations the ECB would act soon to contain the bloc's credit crisis.

Signs of a recovery in the global economies are often supportive of industrial mining stocks in Johannesburg.

Lonmin, the world's No.3 platinum producer, rose over 4 percent to 97.63 rand. Shares of the miner are down 20 percent this year.

Global miner Anglo American ended 3 percent firmer at 253.33 rand.

Palabora Mining - South Africa's only producer of refined copper - topped the losers' list by sliding 10 percent to 87 rand.

The company reported a sharp fall in interim profit and said soft commodity prices and operational glitches would depress earnings for rest of the year.

Financial stocks were also a major weight on the index after African Bank's third-quarter update on Monday showed the unsecured lender's credit growth slowing down.

“There cold be a growing concern by investors that if the largest player in the unsecured lending space is slowing lending growth, it could have negative knock on effects for consumers specifically those who use new loans to pay preexisting debt,” Verster said.

African Bank lost 6 percent to 35 rand, while Absa Group shed 1.6 percent to 136.99 rand.

Massmart, the South African retail unit of Wal-Mart Stores, lost nearly over 3 percent to 170 rand after its earnings guidance came in below analysts' expectations.

Investors traded 142.7 million shares, and 155 companies lost some value while another 127 gained. - Reuters