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JSE stocks edge up

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By Reuters

Johannesburg - South African stocks edged higher on Wednesday, with platinum producer Impala Platinum rising for the first time in three sessions after a profit warning, while US retail sales figures also helped lift sentiment.

Construction company Group Five jumped 9.3 percent after it posted a 63 percent increase in first-half earnings and said it was holding a healthy order book.

“The market is looking slightly undervalued and there are still plenty of bargain hunters,” said Greg Davies, an equities trader at Cratos Capital.

US retail sales figures that were in line with expectations also cheered the Johannesburg bourse, he added.

Johannesburg's Top-40 index added 0.28 percent to 36,387.71 and the All-Share index gained 0.27 percent to 40,808.73.

Both indexes - which have repeatedly hit record highs since last year - are within shooting distance of new records.

Impala Platinum rose 2.6 percent to 166.13 rand. Shares of the platinum producer had fallen 2 percent in the last two sessions, after it said full-year profit would likely drop by as much as 79 percent.

European shares extended gains in afternoon trade on Wednesday, bolstered by a strong open on Wall Street and with Britain's FTSE 100 getting a technical push up after breaking above its 2013 highs.

Aluminium maker Hulamin benefited from a trading update that flagged 2012 headline earnings likely rose by up to 131 percent, partly boosted by a change to its pension costs.

Its shares jumped 9.4 percent to 5.03 rand.

Gains were limited by Tiger Brands, which extended losses, dropping 2.5 percent a day after warning harsh trading conditions would weigh on earnings. Shares of the nation's biggest listed consumer foods maker fell to 289.50 rand, its lowest close in nearly three months.

Africa's biggest gasses and welding company, African Oxygen, lost more than 1 percent after warning its full-year headline earnings were expected to drop by as much as 2 percent.

Some 158 million shares were traded, according to preliminary bourse statistics with advancers outpacing decliners 151 to 137. - Reuters

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