Weak rand buoys South African stocks

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The gains on European bourses and a weakening local currency nudged investors to turn to shares favoured by a depreciating rand.

South Africa’s Top-40 index was 1.8 percent stronger at 35,332.79 at 0834 GMT, after earlier rising more than 2 percent. The All-share had gained 1.6 percent to 39,804.96

“People are taking note of this weaker rand and adjusting their portfolios to include some rand hedges,” said Greg Davies, an equities trader at Cratos Capital.

The rand weakened 0.79 percent to 10.2805 against the dollar on Monday, adding to losses since favourable U.S. employment data on Friday started to put pressure on emerging markets such as South Africa.

Rand hedges such as luxury goods retailer Richemont and SA Breweries – companies whose large overseas operations make them relatively immune to domestic currency volatility – gained.

Richemont was the top gainer among blue chips, adding 3.6 percent, while SA Breweries was up 2.6 percent. Petrochemical company Sasol gained 2 percent.  

Stronger European bourses also buoyed local sentiment. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained more than 1 percent at the open, while Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC40 added nearly 1.5 percent.