South African Stocks: Absa, Adcock, Anglo American, BHP Billiton

South Africa’s FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index fell the most in nearly five months, losing 526.61, or 1.6 percent, to 31,837.14 at the 5 p.m. close in Johannesburg.

The following were among the most active stocks in the South African market today.

Absa Group Ltd. (ASA SJ), the country’s biggest retail lender, declined for a second day, retreating 1.50 rand, or 1.1 percent, to 137.50 rand, the lowest since Dec. 24. The South African Reserve Bank left its benchmark repurchase rate unchanged at 5.5 percent, in line with the median estimate of 22 economists polled by Bloomberg.

Adcock Ingram Holdings Ltd. (AIP SJ), Africa’s largest over-the-counter drug company, slumped for the second day, losing 65 cents, or 1.2 percent, to 55.85 rand, the lowest in more than seven months. Its recommendation was reduced to “underweight” from “neutral” at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Anglo American Plc (AGL SJ), the diversified mining company that makes up 10 percent of South Africa’s benchmark stock index, dropped the most since Aug. 25, shedding 13.31 rand, or 3.7 percent, to 348.50 rand. Copper, lead, nickel and zinc fell on heightened expectations that China, the world’s largest user, may take further steps to curb asset prices after data showed its economy expanded more than economists forecast.

BHP Billiton Plc (BIL SJ) snapped two days of gains, dropping 7 rand, or 2.5 percent, to 269 rand. The world’s largest mining company expects its spending on the Turrum and Kipper ventures off the southeast coast of Australia to double to $2.3 billion, partly because of rising labor costs. Separately, the stock was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Grupo Santander SA.

Distribution & Warehousing Network Ltd. (DAW SJ), a hardware supplier, dropped 70 cents, or 8.5 percent, to 7.50 rand, the lowest close since Oct. 21. JPMorgan reduced its recommendation on the stock to “neutral” from “overweight.”

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