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Rand firms within well-worn range; stocks edge higher
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's rand was firmer against the dollar on Tuesday but failed to take a clear direction, while government bonds ended weaker in holiday-affected trade.
Stocks edged higher for the second straight day on Tuesday, as a surge in resource companies such as Exxaro, was partially offset by a sharp decline in Internet and media firm Naspers.
The central bank released its financial statement that showed an after-tax loss of 1.2 billion rand in the 2010/11 financial year, from a 1.05 billion rand loss in the previous year.
The bank said sterilising the impact of reserves accumulation resulted in the second consecutive loss. Traders said while the annual report showed further losses, policy was the same and there were no clues on when rates would rise.
The rand was trading 0.4 percent firmer at 6.7556 the dollar by 1520 GMT, compared to Monday's New York close of 6.7826. It hit a high of 6.74 early in the session and failed to make further gains after that.
Higher commodity prices and a firmer euro/dollar kept the rand slightly firmer during the session, while the central bank's annual report prompted no reaction from the rand.
"Dollar/rand in a very tight range today as we expected, with no major impulse to push it out of the 6.7300-6.7800 corridor, this is what we saw for most of last week," said Christopher Shiells of Informa Global Markets.
Government bonds were slightly weaker with dealers saying an upcoming national holiday on Thursday is keeping trading volumes light.
The yield on the 2015 bond closed at 7.5 percent and that on the 2026 issue at 8.54 percent.
An earlier auction came out mixed, but better than last week, where the R186 was over three times subscribed and the R209 only 1.8 times subscribed.
STOCKS INCH UP
On the bourse, miners and other resource-related firms jumped after data showed China's high-flying economy may avoid a hard landing, reassuring investors who have worried about the outlook for growth in the resource-hungry economy.
"The resources stocks are still leading the charge," said Mark Maseko, an equities trader at Thebe Securities, adding that copper and other commodity prices reacted positively to the Chinese data.
The Top-40 index of blue-chip stocks rose 0.2 percent to 27,897.92. The broader All-share index rose 0.2 percent to 31,229.36.
Shares of Exxaro, which mines for coal, zinc and mineral sands, surged 3.7 percent to 166.60 rand. China is the world's largest coal consumer and its net coal imports are expected to jump 63 percent this year.
Kumba Iron Ore rose 1.8 percent to 473.50 rand.
Naspers was the biggest percentage decliner among the Top-40, dropping 2.1 percent to 379 rand.
The Internet and media firm Naspers said it expects full-year earnings to rise by as much as 20 percent, disappointing investors who were betting on a bigger surge in growth.
A poll of 9 analysts by Thomson Reuters showed an average estimate for 35 percent profit growth on a fully diluted basis.Tue, 14 Jun 2011
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