South African rand weakens slightly, resources lift stocks
* Rand investors cautious ahead of mid-week data
* Resource stocks lift the bourse
(Adds latest figures)
JOHANNESBURG, April 8 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand
weakened slightly on Monday, struggling to regain the momentum
that lifted it to a five-week best as traders opted for caution
with key local economic indicators due later in the week and
offshore risks still uncertain.
At 1515 GMT the rand was 0.18 percent weaker at
14.1150 per dollar compared to a close at 14.0900 on Friday.
South Africa publishes its monthly business confidence index
on Wednesday followed by manufacturing and mining production
figures on Thursday, data that investors will scrutinise for the
economic effects of recent national electricity blackouts.
On Friday the currency rallied as far as 14.0200, its best
since Feb. 28, shortly after employment data from the United
States showed that nonfarm payrolls rose by 196,000 jobs last
month while wage growth had slowed.
But a risk-off mood as Monday's session commenced kept the
rand above the 14.00 mark, a key technical and psychological
level targeted by rand bulls looking to lock in the price before
volatility intensifies ahead of May 8 national elections.
Bonds were slightly weaker, with the yield on the benchmark
paper due in 2026 up 0.5 basis points to 8.515
In the equities market, commodity stocks topped the gainers
as gold prices hit an over a week peak on Monday, on the back of
a weaker dollar. A stronger platinum price also lifted platinum
The Johannesburg All-Share index gained 0.36
percent to 57,986 points, while the Top-40 index rose
by 0.37 percent to 51,706 points.
The top climbers were Royal Bafokeng Platinum,
which gained by 9.36 percent to 35.98 rand, Harmony Gold
which climbed 7.5 percent to 28.37 rand and Anglo
American Platinum which rose 5.02 percent to 835 rand.
Also moving the market was South Africa's second-biggest
grocery store chain Pick n Pay, which closed 4 percent
firmer at 69.90 rand after saying it expects its full-year
diluted headline earnings per share to rise up to 30 percent.
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana and Onke Ngcuka
Editing by Frances Kerry)
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