INVLTD:  7,784   +92 (+1.20%)  19/12/2018 00:00

South Africa's rand slightly firmer, stocks fall

* Rand ekes out gains in turbulent trade

* Sanlam under pressure as stocks fall

* Bonds also weaker (Updates prices)

By Mfuneko Toyana and Patricia Aruo

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 5 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand firmed on Wednesday, regaining some of the ground it lost overnight as concerns of a recession in the United States wobbled the dollar.

At 1500 GMT the rand was 0.2 percent firmer at 13.8125 per dollar, having touched a session-best 13.7275.

The greenback came under renewed pressure on Wednesday as an inversion in part of the Treasury yield curve caused concern about a possible U.S. recession.

The rand rallied to a fresh four-month high of 13.5425 on Tuesday after third quarter growth data showed the economy was out of recession.

The currency however was back on the ropes as parliament approved a report endorsing a constitutional amendment that would allow land expropriations without compensation.

Traders said the short-term technical picture was uncertain while fundamentals would continue to hinge on international events around global growth and the simmering trade war.

"The fact that background fundamentals in the form of concerns over global growth are impacting on risk appetite," said Investec analysts in a note. "They offer further impetus to the move which looks set to result in a short-term bounce as we head into the U.S. labour data tomorrow and the payrolls figures on Friday."

On the bourse, stocks fell with Sanlam among the biggest decliners after the insurer reported lower 10-month profit.

Sanlam slumped 4 percent to 76.84 rand after the nation's biggest insurer said normalised headline earnings were down 10 percent in the ten month to October.

Overall, traders took their cue from weaker global markets following a sharp fall on Wall Street overnight, said Vasili Girasis, equities trader at BP Bernstein.

The All Share index fell 1 percent to 51,697 points and the blue-chip Top 40 index lost by the same margin to 45,674 points.

Banks were also under pressure with Investec skidding 3.3 percent as the lender started trading without the rights to its next dividend payout.

In fixed income, bonds were weaker, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 paper up 5.5 basis points to 8.975 percent. (Editing by Peter Graff)

2018-12-05 17:31:55

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