Johannesburg - South African stocks capped a volatile week with a sideways close on Friday, as concerns about the outcome for Italy’s debt crisis kept investors on the sidelines, although platinum miners and other battered-down shares ticked higher.
Shares of private hospital group Netcare rose nearly 3%, after the company said it expects to report an increase of up to 26% in full-year earnings on Monday.
Italy’s parliament on Friday was rushing through austerity measures demanded by the European Union to avert a eurozone meltdown, approving a new budget law and clearing the way for approval of the package in the lower house on Saturday.
“Obviously, the big thing is Italy,” said Garth Mackenzie, a trader with consultancy Traders Corner.
Europe is a major trading partner of South Africa and a crisis in the eurozone could have a major impact on South African corporate earnings, he said.
“I think the debate right now is what is going to happen to earnings,” Mackenzie said.
The benchmark Top 40 (Tradeable) [JSE:J200]
index rose 0.11% to 28 888.50. For the week it rose just a little more than 1%.
The broader All Share [JSE:J203]
index rose 0.14% to 32 261.65.
Shares of platinum miner Lonmin rose 1.7%, becoming one of the top percentage gainers among the Top-40. While spot platinum inched lower on Friday, shares of platinum miners have been battered this year, making them attractive buys, traders said.
Preliminary data from the Johannesburg exchange indicated that trade was relatively thin for the session, with 142 million shares changing hands.
Advancers outnumbered decliners, 153 to 110, while 73 shares were unchanged.