FILE PHOTO: South African Rand coins are seen in this photo illustration
The Rand firmed slightly yesterday as the Independence Day holiday in the US restricted market activity, while stocks weakened as investors took profits in bourse heavyweight Naspers.

The rand was trading at R13.185 against the dollar by 5.49pm, 0.26percent stronger from the previous session’s close and following three consecutive sessions of losses.

A policy conference of the ANC was the main focus for markets.

“A fairly quiet week ahead. A lot of people will look tomorrow with the conclusion of the ANC policy conference if there is anything new that is going to come out of that,” said foreign exchange and money market sales at Rand Merchant Bank, Jan Sluis-Cremer.

Government bonds firmed, pushing the yield on the benchmark bond maturing in 2026 lower.

The benchmark JSE Top40 stock index dropped 0.38percent to 45819.88 points, while the broader all share dropped 0.22percent to 52049.25 points.

With trading volumes low, gains were curbed by Naspers’ 4.37percent decline to R2488, which reflected profit-taking after the stock reached a record high of R2846.50 in May.

“Given the run it has been on it’s not entirely unexpected,” Independent Securities trader, Ryan Woods said.

A rebound in gold prices from seven-week lows helped miners, with Gold Fields rising 2.97percent to R45.81 and AngloGold Ashanti up 2.49percent to R128.14.

Meanwhile, a rally in Worldpay shares to a record high was not enough to offset a broad-based decline among British shares yesterday, after a strong start to the second half for the UK’s top share index.