/ 18 January 2008

SA stocks plummet as fears of slowdown mount

South African stocks fell over 3% on Friday on increasing fears that the United States economy could be hit by a recession.

By 8.55am GMT the top-40 index had crept back from a session and stood 2,76% weaker at 23 936,98 points, off the day’s worst level of 23 816,5.

The broader all-share index was 2,59% softer at 26 338,92 points, sneaking back from a low of 26 232,99 points.

Miner Lonmin Platinum, RMB Holdings and Anglo American took the biggest hits among blue-chips, reflecting widespread fears that a slowdown in the world economy could hurt miners.

“The market’s still nervous. [US Federal Reserve chairperson Ben] Bernanke’s comments last night [Thursday] confirmed our fears that the US economy is already in recession,” one trader said.

Investors worldwide have been offloading risky assets, including stocks, on fears that the US economy was not in a healthy state, and that if it slipped into a recession would drag world markets with it. – I-Net Bridge