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Gold producers lead bourse lower as bullion plummets

Gold producers lead bourse lower as bullion plummets < News < Bet On Markets

Johannesburg — Shares fell yesterday, paced by Harmony and other gold producers, as bullion posted its biggest drop in 10 months.

The FTSE/JSE Africa all share index declined 0.9 percent to 12 205.18 points as 76 stocks fell, 54 gained and 31 were unchanged.

Gold futures for February delivery lost 3.4 percent to $438.10 (R2 554.12) an ounce in New York, risking the biggest one-day loss since January 29. In London afternoon trade gold was fixed at $436.90, down 14.9c.

The metal fell as the dollar rose from a record low against the euro. A stronger dollar makes it more expensive for European buyers of gold.

Harmony, which has made a hostile bid to buy Gold Fields, the world’s fourth-largest gold miner, declined R2.38 to R55.11. Gold Fields dropped R3.20 to R74.62.

AngloGold Ashanti, the world’s second-largest gold miner, fell R4 to R215.99.

Bidvest Group, which runs food businesses in the UK and Australia, gained R1 to R76.50 after the currency weakened, increasing the value of foreign sales when converted into rands.

Steinhoff International Holdings, which earns 83 percent of sales outside the country, climbed 20c to R12.20. Steinhoff is South Africa’s biggest furniture maker.

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings, Africa’s biggest maker of generic medicines, jumped 59c to R17.25 after Deutsche Bank analyst Anne Studdert upgraded her recommendation on the share to buy from hold.

BHP Billiton, the world’s third-biggest copper miner, slipped R1.10 to R64 as metals prices declined.

Sovereign Food Investments, a South African poultry producer, surged 79c to R5.59 after it said earnings for the 12 months through February 2005 would be between 250 percent and 270 percent higher than those from the year earlier.

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