South African Stocks Resist Global Slump as Sasol Extends Rally

South Africa’s main stocks index advanced for a second day, up 0.4% by 10:12 a.m. in Johannesburg, with BHP Group Plc leading miners higher, and as Sasol Ltd. extended its rally to a third session as crude oil prices continued their climb, countering weakness in benchmark heavyweight Richemont and among banking shares.

The gains contrasted with trading in Asia, where there were signs that a global stocks rally is faltering after earnings rolled in, and as hawkish comments on a trade blacklist from President Joe Biden’s nominee for Commerce Secretary roiled Chinese shares. Investors are mulling scattered signs of a pickup in U.S. activity as Biden pushes to win passage of a $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal. Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis President James Bullard said Wednesday stock prices reflect optimism about the U.S. economic recovery.

“The seesaw of risk on the global playground is weighted in favour of emerging-market assets as the force of gravity is supported by constructive data, sustained stimulus and a steady vaccine rollout,” Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana, a strategist at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg, said in a client note.

Index giant Naspers Ltd. rose for a fourth day, up 0.4% to provide biggest boost to the index.

Diversified miners joined platinum companies to drive a broad guage of mining stocks higher, with the sector index up 0.3%.

  • BHP +0.7%, Exxaro Resources Ltd. +0.7%, Glencore Plc +0.2%, African Rainbow Minerals Ltd. +0.8%

Platinum stocks rose 0.5%.

  • Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. +1.4%, Sibanye Stillwater Ltd. +0.2%, Northam Platinum Ltd. +0.3%

Gold stocks retreated for a fourth day, the longest losing streak since November, as bullion prices extended their decline.

  • NOTE: The Outlook for Gold Is Darkening
  • Pan African Resources Plc -2.3%, Harmony Gold Mining Co. -0.2%, DRDGold Ltd. -0.5%

Sasol rallied 6.4% to the highest intraday level since Feb. 26, as crude oil continued its ascent after OPEC+ said it will keep pushing to quickly clear the surplus left behind by the pandemic.

The Mobile Telecommunications index rose for a third day to the highest in more than a week.

  • MTN Group +2.1%, Vodacom Group Ltd. +1.2%

Richemont dropped for a second day, causing the biggest drag on the index.

An index of bank stocks slid for a second day, falling 0.7% as the rand weakened.

  • FirstRand Ltd. -0.7%, Standard Bank Group Ltd. -0.4%, Absa Group Ltd. -0.9%, Capitec Bank Holdings Ltd. -0.4%, Nedbank Group Ltd. -0.5%, Investec Plc -0.6%

Foreigners remained remained net sellers of South African stocks for an 11th day Wednesday, disposing of 1.15 billion rand worth of shares, according to exchange operator JSE Ltd. This is the longest stretch of outflows since October.

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