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Stocks pause to take breath as investors rush to take profits

Stocks pause to take breath as investors rush to take profits < News < Bet On Markets

Johannesburg — Stocks slid off their record highs yesterday, with retailer Woolworths and iron ore producer Kumba Resources sharply down on profit taking and a stronger rand.

Woolworths fell 4.94 percent to R10.20, while Kumba dropped 3.57 percent to R47.25.

Tracking foreign markets, the JSE Securities Exchange was generally down across the board, but Naspers, Africa’s biggest media group, bucked the trend.

«It’s a bit of profit taking, following overseas markets, and a stronger rand,» said Barend Saayman at Thebe Securities.

The FTSE/JSE Top40 index gave up 0.28 percent to 11 283.33 while the FTSE/JSE Africa all share index shed 0.18 percent to 12 490.79 points.

Naspers edged up 4.21 percent to R66.90 as investors cheered its shares for the second straight day after it posted a four-fold rise in half-year profits.

Insurance group Sanlam fell 3.2 percent to R12.10, after a solid run last week on expectations of a windfall from the sale of its 23 percent stake in banking group Absa by the UK’s Barclays. Absa was 2.29 percent lower at R70.35.

Gold firm AngloGold Ashanti was cut back 0.24 percent to R233.45 and steel maker Ispat Iscor fell 1.94 percent to R65.19.

«Banks and resources fell, it was profit taking, helped by the rand, which stayed below R5.80 to the dollar,» said Investec’s Kevin Brady.

But Standard Bank charged up 2.73 percent to R62 and rival Old Mutual marched 2.65 percent ahead to R14.70.

Industrial group Imperial Holdings shed 2.86 percent to R102, while diversified services group Bidvest slid 2.42 percent to end at R74.65.

Shares in cellular operator MTN lost 1.58 percent to R40.50, while fixed-line monopoly Telkom lost 1.98 percent to R99.

Hospital group Netcare ended 2.33 percent up at R5.28

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