SA stocks up as Richemont glitters

2012-04-24 18:18

Johannesburg - South African stocks edged up 0.5 percent on Tuesday, as shares of luxury good firm Richemont rose on strong watch Swiss watch exports, although gains were limited by declines in some recent gainers such as British American Tobacco.

Shares of investment firm Brait jumped 2.8% to R23.99 after it said full-year earnings likely more than quadrupled, although it did not give a reason for the expected rise in earnings. The company is due to release results on June 6.

Concerns about global markets were keeping investors wary, especially of resources companies sensitive to global growth, traders said.

“Global concerns have been niggling the market of late but it is not doing too badly on balance but resources stocks are still battling,” said Afrifocus Securities portfolio manager Ferdi Heyneke.

The benchmark blue-chip Top 40 - (Tradeable) [JSE:J200] index rose 0.46% to 29 823.88, while the broader All Share [JSE:J203] index closed up 0.35% higher at 33 820.87.

The All-Share is just 2.3% - or about 800 points - shy of its all-time high, set earlier this year.

Richemont, the maker of Cartier and Mont Blanc luxury watches, rose 1.8% to R47.15. Data showed on Tuesday that Swiss watch exports rose by nearly 19% last month, buoyed by strong Asian demand.

Richemont is also listed in Switzerland.

Some recent gainers took a drubbing, however, with British American Tobacco, falling 2.2% to R296.99. Shares of the company are up 11% over the last 3 months and 5% this month.

Investors are also taking a cautious tack ahead of a speech from US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke later this week.

“While we are watching Bernanke for a clue on a possible third round of quantitative easing, the rest of the week looks encouraging,” said Heyneke.

Bernanke is not expected to change the United States’ short-term interest rates from its record lows at its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday but there is once again debate on whether he will help prop up its markets.

Trade was thin with just 179 million shares changing hands, according to preliminary bourse data, down from the daily average of 256 million sold last year.

Advancers outnumbered decliners at 155 to 120. A total of 68 stocks were unchanged.