SA stocks post first weekly decline for 2012

South African stocks stumbled and fell 1.3% on Friday, booking their first weekly decline since the start of 2012, as complications with the long-awaited Greek debt deal prompted investors to cash in resources firms such as Exxaro.

Shares of Absa fell 1% to R149. The South African unit of Britain’s Barclays spent much of the session in positive territory after reporting a higher-than-expected dividend, but was eventually hit by the broader sell-off.

The leader of a far-right Greek party said he could not vote in favour of the €130-billion bailout deal Greece needs to avoid bankruptcy, frustrating investors who want to see an end to drawn-out negotiations.

“We’ve had a good run-up—the market’s up 7% this year—and until we get a bit more clarity out of Greece, we’re probably going to see a bit of profit-taking,” said Mpho Mojalefa, a dealer at BJM Private Client Services in Johannesburg.

Market players will also be watching a planned announcement by President Jacob Zuma, together with the finance minister and central bank governor, scheduled for Saturday at 1pm GMT.

The announcement will be “of national importance” a central bank statement said on Friday.

The Top-40 index fell 1.3% to 30 210.44, posting a 1.7% drop for the week. Last week the index hit its highest since May 2008.

The broader All-share index dropped 1.1% to 33 8892.58 rand.
The index hit a lifetime high of 34 460.57 last week.

Exxaro Resources fell 2.1% to R201.85. The diversified miner is the best performer among the Top-40 so far this year, having risen 20%.

Assore dropped 1.6% to R244. The base metals miner is the second-best performer on the Top-40 this year, up 16%.

Trade was relatively thin with 180-million shares changing hands, according to preliminary exchange data, well below last year’s daily average of 256-million shares.

Decliners outnumbered advancers by a ratio of nearly two to one with 71 shares unchanged.—Reuters

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