New car sales rose 15.6% year on year in June, according to National Association of Automobile Manufacturers' statistics released on Tuesday.
"We saw good results coming out from improved vehicle sales, and Imperial has moved up quite nice at the back of those results," said Michael Carlsson, a trader at Consillium Capital.
Both benchmark indices – the Top-40 and All-Share – added 1%, to 29 864.41 and 33 985.71 respectively.
"We are going to continue to grow stronger in our local markets. We have been lagging the rest of the markets," Carlsson said.
Over the last three weeks, South Africa's Top-40 has been the second-worst performer among stock indexes of the Brics countries, which also include Brazil, Russia, India and China.
The Top-40 has fallen 0.06%, compared with a 9% rise in Moscow's RTS index, and a 5% gain by Hong Kong's Hang Seng. Only Shangai's main benchmark performed worse, falling nearly 3%.
Imperial Holdings, which runs South Africa's biggest car showroom network, was the top gainer on the blue-chip index, rising 3.7% to R177.91.
Bidvest, an industrial conglomerate that also sells cars, gained over 3.6% to R188.58.
Absa gained 0.7% to R138, recouping some of its losses from the previous session. South Africa's biggest retail lender is still down nearly 13% since early last week, when it warned earnings may drop by as much as 10%.
Negative sentiment following a scandal at parent company Barclays has also weighed on Absa.
Barclays' CEO Bob Diamond quit on Tuesday in the wake of the bank's rate-rigging scandal for which Britain's third-largest bank has already been fined $453-million.
Anglo American Platinum extended its slide, losing another 3.7% to R442.84. The world's largest producer of the precious metal flagged on Monday that low sales would depress earnings by at least 20%.
The session saw about 158-million shares traded, according to preliminary data, compared with 126-million in the previous session. Advancers beat decliners 180 to 105, and 67 counters remained unchanged. – Reuters