S.Africa stocks hit as Naspers slides

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Sentiment was also bruised after data showed Africa’s largest economy grew at its slowest pace since a 2009 recession in the third quarter, dragged down by weeks of strikes in the automotive industry.

[DATA NPN:Naspers Ltd.], the most valuable company with a primary listing in Johannesburg, dropped 4.1 percent to 931.92 rand. It said it would spend more than 7 billion rand on expansion this year.

“What you are seeing here is a company that is growing very, very fast. They are investing for more growth and you will always have a question on that,” said Reuben Beelders, a portfolio manager at Gryphon Asset Management.

“The stock has run very hard over the past few days. It could be a little bit of profit-taking on the results,” he said.

Shares of Naspers are up 75 percent this year, making it one of the best performers in Johannesburg.

The benchmark Top-40 index declined 1.44 percent to 39,194.33. The broad All-Share index fell 1.27 percent to 43,988.14.

Vodacom Group, the dominant mobile operator in South Africa, rose 1.2 percent to 123.89 rand. The unit of Britain’s Vodafone Plc said it would pay $250 million in cash to acquire an additional 17 percent in its Tanzania unit.

 Trade was relatively active, with 200 million shares changing hands, according to preliminary bourse data.

Decliners outnumbered advancers, 192 to 128.