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South African rand dips as risk demands dips, Tradehold lifts stocks
* Rand in a lull, vulnerable to offshore events
* Tradehold hits biggest daily gain in 7-1/2-weeks
* Multichoice makes market debut, close higher than opening
(Adds latest prices, analyst quotes)
JOHANNESBURG, Feb 27 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand
weakened on Wednesday as risk demand in global markets was
soured by an escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan,
prompting investors to flee into safe haven assets.
At 1520 GMT the rand was down 0.58 percent at
13.9200 per dollar compared to an overnight close of 13.8400,
with most of the losses coming as New York traders came online
after a subdued start to the local session.
Nuclear powers India and Pakistan claimed that they shot
down each other's fighter jets, with Pakistan capturing an
Indian pilot a day after Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistan
for the first time since a 1971 war.
The dollar gained from risk aversion and recovered from
three-week lows, while traditional safe havens such as the Swiss
franc and Japan's yen as well as gold also rose.
"The rand wasn't that volatile, its been moving in a 10
cents range, and it seems as if we're still in a post-budget
hangover with investors looking for the next catalyst," said
TreasuryOne trader Andre Botha.
The rand had advanced around one percent since last week's
budget where Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced a 69
billion rand bailout for ailing utility Eskom, but the currency
has treaded water in the past few sessions.
Bonds edged weaker, with the yield on the benchmark paper
due in 2026 adding 1 basis point to 8.67 percent.
In the equities market, Tradehold Limited helped
lift stocks, topping the bourse after it said it had been
approached by a private property investor to invest 833 million
rand ($59.77 million) directly into its portfolio of South
African property assets and 200 million rand into Tradehold.
Shares in Tradehold jumped 13.19 percent to 11.50 rand, its
biggest daily gain in 7-1/2-weeks.
Shares in Africa's biggest pay-TV group MultiChoice
leapt around 15 percent on its market debut earlier, launching
the firm straight into the top-40 firms on the bourse.
MultiChoice, a spin-off from e-commerce giant Naspers
, stood at 106.01 percent, 11 percent higher than its
opening price of 95.5 rand.
Portfolio Managers at asset management firm Vestact said in
a note that Multichoice shares jumped as the market tried to
figure out what it was worth.
"It will probably be volatile for a few more days as the big
players either build a position or sell off their current
holding," the Vestact team said in a statement.
The Johannesburg All-share index inched up 0.1
percent to 56,297 points, while the Top-40 index was
little unchanged at 49,955 points.
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana and Nqobile Dludla
Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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