Stocks listed on the JSE sagged for a second straight day on Wednesday on the back of poor results from retailers and a sell-off in mining stocks.

This was notwithstanding the possibility of an end to a devastating strike at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).

The JSE Top-40 index lost 0.41 percent to 33.042.71 while the All-share index (Alsi) also ended 0.41 percent lesser at 37.241.79.

This happened at a time when it has been claimed that foreigners who have been moving out of the South African equity market for most of the year have changed tack this month.

Despite uncertainty about South Africa’s policy direction and high risks abroad, which traditionally drive international investors into safer havens, investors were buying local shares.

The JSE Top 40 Index and the All Share Index (Alsi) stayed closer to record peaks scaled last week.

However, traders told Ventures Africa Online that technical factors would make it a hard challenge to achieve new highs shortly.

Retailers were under the spotlight in Wednesday’s trading session with shares of retailer Spar Group lost 3.7 percent to 122.30 rand ($14). This was after the supermarket chain reported full-year profits that did not meet market expectations.

Mr. Price, another clothing retailer catering to lower income shoppers in South Africa, dropped one percent. But the company reported a 34 percent jump in interim profit. However, Mr Price cautioned of a harsh business environment next year.

The sell-off of mining stocks continued while the worst industrial action since the end of apartheid in 1994 came to a close. The miners’ strikes have battered investor confidence in South Africa.

Amplats, the world’s top platinum producer, said it expected miners to return to work on Thursday. This was after the miners had accepted a new salary deal, ending weeks of wildcat strikes.

Meanwhile, gold prices rerated after a larger-than-expected plunge in US retail sales on Wednesday. Market talk, however, was still subjected to ideas on how the US could evade a severe monetary crisis, while platinum surged on the back of supply worries.

Spot gold gained 0.27 percent to $1.729.51 an ounce by 1413 GMT, well below last Friday’s three-week high around $1.738.


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