Stocks ride currency boost as FirstRand leads rally

South Africa’s main stock index extended gains for a third day Wednesday, climbing 1.4%, the most in more than a month. A rally in the rand boosted retailers and financials, with FirstRand soaring in its best session since June to make the largest points contribution to the benchmark. Investor sentiment also got a boost from an unexpected increase in business confidence to levels last seen before the coronavirus.

The resurgent rand drove the index of banking stocks 7.8% higher, the biggest gain since June 3. Standard Bank Group +9%, Nedbank Group 9.9%, Absa Group +8.2%, FirstRand +7.5%, Capitec Bank Holdings +6.8%, Investec Plc +3.6%.

  • Insurers jumped 5.2%.
    • Old Mutual +6.3%, Discovery +5.7%, Sanlam +4.7%, Liberty Holdings +4.4%, Momentum Metropolitan Holdings +4.2%, Liberty Holdings 4.4%.
  • Asset manager Coronation Fund Managers gained 5.2%.
  • General retailers rose 6.7%, also the most in more than three months, while food and drug retailers climbed 3.3%.
    • Massmart Holdings +11%, Truworths International +11%, The Foschini Group +10%, Pepkor Holdings +8.9%, Woolworths Holdings +7%, Mr Price Group +5.4%.
    • Shoprite Holdings +10%, Pick n Pay Stores +7%, Clicks Group +1.9%, Spar Group +4.1%, Dis-Chem Pharmacies +4%.
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