Gold bars weighing one kilogram each sit on a table in the vault of gold vendor ProAurum in Munich, Germany, on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011. Gold advanced to an all-time high above $1,910 as investors sought to protect their wealth against financial turmoil amid speculation that the global economy is slowing. Photographer: Guenter Schiffmann/Bloomberg

Johannesburg - South African stocks rose 0.8 percent on Thursday with gold producers like AngloGold Ashanti lifted by a rally in the price of bullion, but gains were tempered by falls in this year's top gainers.

The gold price - a key factor for Johannesburg's resource-heavy bourse - rebounded after steep losses on Wednesday. The United States Federal Reserve has pledged to keep interest rates steady, seen as a negative for the dollar and therefore good for gold.

“I think a lot of traders and investors took this to mean quantitative easing number three (will come) down the line. Monetary stimulus is usually quite good for gold,” said Nick Kunze head of trading at BJM Private Clients.

The benchmark blue-chip Top-40 index rose 0.75 percent to 30,247.51, while the broader All-Share index closed up 0.65 percent higher at 34,251.43.

Leading the pack was Africa's largest gold producer AngloGold, which jumped 3.7 percent to 269.96 rand, and rival Gold Fields gained 3.4 percent to 101.14 rand.

Smaller producer Harmony added 3.04 percent to 76.66 rand.

South Africa's biggest retail bank, Absa was among the day's losers as it continued its decline, at 0.68 percent, while and Shoprite fell 1.72 percent.

Trade was sparse with just 162 million shares changing hands, according to preliminary bourse data.

Advancers outnumbered decliners at 177 to 103 with shares in 68 firms unchanged.

The JSE will be closed tomorrow as South Africans celebrate the 18th anniversary of Freedom Day. Next week is also only four days as Tuesday is Workers Day. - Reuters