Johannesburg - South African stocks fell on Friday, booking their steepest weekly fall in more than two months, as investors remained skittish about labour strikes rattling the economy and turmoil in Syria.
Workers in the gold mining industry are set to strike for higher pay from Tuesday, inflicting more damage on an industry that has produced a third of the bullion ever pulled from the earth but is now in rapid decline.
Emerging market assets have been sold off for much of this week on fears of possible Western military action in Syria.
The blue chip JSE Top 40 - (Tradeable) [JSE:J200] index fell 0.66% to 37 863.93. It was off 2.1% for the week, the biggest weekly drop since June 22, and down 2.7% for August.
The broader All Share [JSE:J203] index gave up 0.47% to 42 228.34. The index was down 1.8% for week, also the steepest weekly fall in more than two months, and down 2.3 percent for August.
But gold shares, which have been hammered in recent weeks, recouped some losses. Traders said, however, the recovery was not supported by fundamentals.
AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG]
shares were up 4.72% and Gold Fields [JSE:GFI]
gained 2.69 %.
"The resource stocks are trading a bit weaker on the back of a strengthening rand," said Henre Herselman, a derivatives trader at Nedbank Private Wealth.
Bourse heavyweight Anglo American was down 2.83% to R235.50 and Impala Platinum (Implats) [JSE:IMP]
lost 2.16% to R113.50.
Richemont, whose share price often moves inversely to the rand because it reports in Swiss francs, fell 2.32% to R97.14.
The rand firmed nearly 1% against the dollar in late afternoon deals on Friday.
On the upside, Woolworths was 4.94% higher at R68.21, extending gains to the second-straight day after the high-end food retailer posted a nearly one-third rise in full-year profit.
Trade was relatively robust, with 187 million shares changing hands, according to preliminary bourse data.
Decliners outnumbered advancers, 171 to 122, with 61 shares unchanged.
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