South African stocks hit new record

South Africa’s main stock index rose for a fifth day and headed for a third consecutive record close, as mining stocks benefited from hopes for U.S. economic stimulus. Local market giant Naspers Ltd. added impetus to the rally, rebounding from Thursday’s losses as global technology shares rose.

The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index advanced 1% as of 9:50 a.m. in Johannesburg, extending its gains this week to more than 7%, the strongest performance since early November and outpacing the 3.9% rise in an MSCI Inc. gauge of emerging-market stocks.

South African shares have climbed 67% from the pandemic-selloff low plumbed last March, and the recent rapid ascent has pushed the 14-day relative strength index on the gauge to almost 80, the highest since 2017. That’s well beyond the level of 70 viewed by some technical analysts as a signal that the gains may be overdone.

Investors are piling into assets that win in an improving economic cycle, with ultra-loose monetary polices and hopes of more stimulus spending under U.S. President-elect Joe Biden adding fuel to these bets in a so-called reflation trade.

Diversified miner Anglo American Plc gained 0.7% and peer BHP Group Plc rose 0.5% to continue the support they’ve provided to the South African market this week. An index of mining stocks advanced for a fifth day, adding a further 0.3% to Thursday’s record high.

Sasol Ltd. was prominent among gainers, climbing 2.7% with oil headed for a ninth weekly gain in 10 as Saudi Arabia’s unilateral output cut eased over-supply fears and amid the optimism on U.S. stimulus spending. Sasol’s 24% New Year surge makes it the best-performing Johannesburg stock after Glencore Plc early in 2021.

The rand strengthened moderately in Friday’s risk-on environment, boosting local bank stocks. A gauge of local lenders gained 0.6%, with FirstRand Ltd. up 1.2% and Standard Bank Group Ltd. rising 0.7%.

Tech investor Naspers contributed the most index points to the benchmark in Friday morning trading, rising 1.7% to reverse some of Thursday’s 2.8% slump, as partly owned Chinese online giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. climbed 1% in Hong Kong.

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd. rallied for a fourth day, jumping as much as 5.4% to a four-month high. The company has agreed to manufacture doses of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine candidate in South Africa if it gains regulatory approval.


Read: South African stocks climb as platinum miners rally

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South African stocks hit new record