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Mining shares buoy JSE

South African stocks were firmer at midday on Thursday as mining shares moved higher on improved precious metals prices due to the weaker US dollar.

By noon, the all-share index was up 0,67%, with the gold mining index adding 1,41% and the platinum mining index 1,56% higher. Resources added

Banks advanced 1,81%, financials collected 1,38% and industrials added 0,97%.

The rand was bid at 7,71 to the US dollar from 7,76 when the JSE closed on Wednesday, while gold was quoted at $833,25 a troy ounce from $827,65/oz at the JSE’s last close. Platinum was last at $1 455,50/oz, up $10/oz from its previous close.

“The miners have pushed up and there is a feeling that some of the shares in those sectors, which have been hit quite hard recently, are now offering value,” said a local equities trader.

“Broadly the market is actually looking quite positive despite the PPI which came in higher than the market expected,” he added.

South Africa’s producer price index (PPI) rose by 18,9% year-on-year (y/y) in July from 16,8% year-on-year (y/y) in June, Statistics South Africa
data on Thursday showed.

PPI was expected to be at 17,6% y/y, a survey by I-Net Bridge found, with forecasts ranging from 15,4% y/y to 19% y/y.

Dow Jones Newswires reports US stock futures slipped on Thursday as oil and natural-gas futures continued to advance as fears about tropical storm
Gustav remained, with results to come from retailers which target both upscale and penny-pinching customers.

S&P 500 futures fell nine-tenths of a point to 1 281,20 and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 2,75 points to 1 899,00. Dow industrial futures fell 11

In London, the FTSE was up just five points. In company news, South African mobile operator MTN Group reported that group subscribers grew 53% to 74,1-million in the six months to June compared with June 2007.

Adjusted headline earnings per share rose 26% to 408,5 cents from 324,7 cents a year ago.

The company’s share price was up R1,95, or 1,71%, at R115,96.

Also in the news, Impala Platinum, the world’s second-
largest platinum producer reported a 57% climb in headline earnings per share for the full year to end June 2008 of R20,65 compared with R13,12 reported the year before.

The company said platinum production, excluding Lonmin material treated, increased by 2% while gross production decreased by 6% to 1,91-million

Impala’s share price was up R6,25, or 2,78%, at R231,25.

Elsewhere on the JSE, resource giant Anglo American was down R2 at R411 and BHP Billiton lost 50 cents to R243.

However, synthetic fuels maker Sasol was up R4,75, or 1,14%, at R421,75.

Gold miner AngloGold Ashanti gained R3,20. or 1,5%, to R213 and Gold Fields added R1,36, or 1,86%, to R74,36.

Among platinum miners Anglo Platinum was up R1,80 to R941,80 and Northam added R1,30, or 2,55%, at R52,30.

Among industrials, brewer SABMiller added 94 cents to R161,84 but Richemont dipped by 11 cents to R43,59.

Tiger Brands added R4,70, or 3,69%, to R132.

PPC, which earlier unveiled details of a R2,7-billion black economic empowerment deal, was up 40 cents, or 1,28%, at R31,60. It is to sell 15% of its equity to black investors, which would see community service
groups, employees, education and industry association trusts as well as strategic black owners owning a part of the company.

Banking group Standard Bank was up R1,25, or 1,42%, to R89,25 and Nedbank gained R2,20, or 2,1%, to R107,20. – I-Net Bridge

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