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SA stocks take a dip as commodity prices soften

South African stocks fell on Thursday, dragged down by resources firms such as Impala Platinum and AngloGold Ashanti, which tracked softer global commodity prices.

Spot gold and platinum fell by about 2% after better-than-forecast US jobs data boosted the dollar, reviving expectations that the US Federal Reserve could raise interest rates soon. Platinum producer Impala Platinum fell 4%, and AngloGold lost 1.8%.

The blue-chip Top40 index dropped 0.21% to 48195 while the broader All Share index slipped 0.19% to 54440.

The indices rose more than 4% last month, their biggest monthly climb since February last year.

The monthly gain was spurred by resources counters such as Kumba Iron Ore, which jumped about 23% over the past two weeks, and parent Anglo American, which rose about 9% in that time.

However, analysts said the commodity rally was not sustainable as the fundamentals of resources such as iron ore, gold and oil had not changed.

“Commodities prices take a long time to turn trends,” Sasfin trader David Shapiro said, adding that supply from iron ore and oil producers would need to slow down before a sustained turnaround would be visible in the prices.

Trade was active ahead of the long weekend, with 201million shares changing hands compared with last year’s daily average of 183million shares.

US shares gained on Friday after two straight sessions of losses on a rebound in healthcare and technology stocks, while the dollar rose from nine-week lows on signs that the US economy may be stabilising after a recent soft patch.

A majority of the 10 major US S&P indices were higher, with the health and tech indices both snapping two-day losing streaks. Apple shares were the biggest driver on the main US indices.

All major European markets except London were closed on Friday for the May Day holiday and many Asian markets were also shut.

London’s FTSE100 index inched into positive territory after mining firms advanced on expectations of further stimulus in China.

The gains in US shares came after weak earnings reports contributed to losses in the previous two sessions. Data showing a jump in consumer sentiment was a bright spot in recent economic reports and supported the dollar.

The MSCI world equity index was last up 0.15% to 436.95. The Dow Jones industrial average was 0.82% higher at 17986.67. The S&P 500 was up 0.74% at 2101.03, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.82% at 4982.17.

Brent crude was down 73c at $66.05 a barrel.

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