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

Johannesburg - South African stocks ended lower on Wednesday, with Naspers taking the most points off the main index after its Chinese money-maker posted slower profit growth while tumbling metal prices added to downbeat mood.

Naspers, whose share price rally in recent months has largely been on the back of China's Tencent Holdings, dived 4.9 percent to 1,160.05 rand, paring gains so far this year to about 7 percent.

Tencent Holdings, in which Naspers holds more than third, earlier posted its slowest quarterly profit growth in nearly two years.

The benchmark JSE Top-40 index was down 0.9 percent at 42,006.91 and the broader All-share index gave up 0.8 percent to 46,666.54.

Investors were largely unfazed by the upcoming US Federal Reserve meeting later in the day, at which it is widely expected to announce plans to continue trimming its bond-buying stimulus.

“We don't think there would be any change to Fed's commitment to continue its tapering of the bond-buying programme,” said Greg Katzenellenbogen, Director at Sanlam Private Investments.

Mining shares dominated the decliners' list on the benchmark index as industrial metal prices skidded with copper tumbling to its lowest levels in more than three years.

BHP Billiton was down 1.4 percent at 319.50 rand and rival Anglo American dropped 2.3 percent at 250.53 rand.

In earnings news, Adcock Ingram slumped 3.5 percent to 57.01 rand after the drugmaker said quarterly profit was under pressure.

Elsewhere, Steinhoff fell 2.7 percent to 52.19 rand, a day after the furniture group unveiled an all-share offer for the remaining stock in its 56 percent-owned unit JD Group. - Reuters