Johannesburg - Stocks on the JSE fell slightly on Thursday, snapping a three-day record-setting run, as investors cashed in on profits while worries about US fiscal problems dampened sentiment.
The benchmark JSE Top 40 - (Tradeable) [JSE:J200] index gave up 0.37% to 34 287.11 and the broader All Share [JSE:J203] index retreated 0.22% to 38 676.70.
“We’ve had a quite a strong run in the past few days so it’s to be expected to see a bit of profit taking. Also, some people are already positioning their books for the year-end,” said Darryl Owen, a fund manager at BoE Private Clients.
The stock market has hit a string of record highs in the past several months, largely unmoved by a slowdown in the global economy, eurozone debt crisis and wildcat strikes at home.
This has reinforced the view of traders who have said the bourse’s strength reflects a lack of decent alternatives for returns.
Investors are on course to reap about a 20% return on domestic equities this year but a weaker rand, which has lost about 7% of its value so far in 2012, has eaten into returns for foreign investors.
Among equity movers, global miner Anglo American dropped after JP Morgan said the bourse heavyweight was structurally challenged to benefit from an expected 2013 rebound in the mining sector.
Shares in the company, which is also listed in London, fell 2.08% to R258.99. Other mining companies also fell, tracking lower metal prices, with African Rainbow Minerals slipping 0.59% to R189.08.
On the gainer’s side, Standard Bank added 1.4% to R111.25 after the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, said Africa’s biggest lender may sell control of its UK trading businesses.
A total of 156 million shares changed hands, according to preliminary exchange data, with decliners outnumbering gainers 164 to 139 while 58 stocks were unchanged.