S.Africa stocks slide as growth fears widen

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South African stocks fell more than 1 percent on Thursday as investors cashed in everything from banks to bullion mining companies on concerns about slowing growth in Africa’s largest economy.

Trade was interrupted for foreign investors for much of the day due to a system glitch with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s data feed in London. A spokeswoman for the JSE said local clients were not affected.

South Africa’s central bank left its repo rate unchanged on Thursday citing risks to inflation from a weaker rand.

Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus was downbeat on the outlook for domestic growth, sparking concern among investors.

“It’s quite a bleak local economic picture,” said Abri du Plessis, chief investment officer at Gryphon Asset Management in Cape Town. “The weaker growth story, rather than inflation, is what the market is focusing on.”

The Top-40 index dropped 1.16 percent to 39,941.17, while the broad All-Share index fell 1 percent to 44,741.55.

Investec dropped 1.4 percent to 68.40 rand. The investment bank and asset manager posted a slight decline in first-half earnings after a weaker rand currency hit profit. 

Shares of Barclays Africa Group fell 1.8 percent to 135.50 rand.

Gold miners were also hit, as the price of bullion fell. It hit a four-month low of 1,239.41 US dollars an ounce after the close of stock trading.

Gold Fields, South Africa’s second-largest gold miner by market value, led the slide, dropping 4.9 percent to 41.87 rand.

Trade volume was slow, with just 88 million shares changing hands on the exchange, owing to the system glitch.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 174 to 83.