South African Stocks: Absa, Aveng, Richemont, JD Group, SacOil

South Africa’s FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index fell to its lowest close since Dec. 1, sliding

295.28, or 1 percent, to 30,878.58 by 5 p.m. in Johannesburg.

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

Absa Group Ltd. (ASA SJ), South Africa’s largest retail bank, rose for the first day in four, adding 2.62 rand, or 2.1 percent, to 129 rand. Barclays Plc Chairman Marcus Agius raised the prospect of the U.K. lender increasing its stake in Absa, Business Day reported, citing Agius. Barclays hasn’t approached South Africa’s banking regulator about increasing its stake in Absa, registrar of banks Errol Kruger said.

Aveng Ltd. (AEG SJ), South Africa’s largest construction company, fell the most since Feb. 1, losing 1.35 rand, or 3.7 percent, to 35.65 rand. Aveng reported a 35 percent decline in net income for the six months ended Dec. 31 and said revenue growth will be limited by “challenging” conditions in its home market.

Cie Financiere Richemont SA (CFR SJ) fell to its lowest since Jan. 10, dropping 1.32 rand, or 3.4 percent, to 37.74 rand. The luxury goods maker may be badly hit by the effects of the earthquake in Japan quake, MF Global said.

Erbacon Investment Holdings Ltd. (ERB SJ), a civil engineering company, slid the most in two weeks, decreasing 10 cents, or 8 percent, to 1.15 rand, after saying it will report a fiscal full-year loss compared with a year-earlier profit.

JD Group Ltd. (JDG SJ), a South African furniture retailer, had its biggest one-day decline since May 7, losing 2.27 rand, or 4.9 percent, to 44 rand after saying it agreed to a swap of business units with furniture maker Steinhoff International Holdings Ltd. (SHF SJ) in a transaction which will give Steinhoff a 26 percent stake in JD Group. Steinhoff retreated 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to 24 rand.

SacOil Holdings Ltd. (SCL SJ), an oil and natural gas exploration company, dropped for the third day, losing 18 cents, or 8.1 percent, to 2.04 rand. SacOil denied a complaint by shareholder Kevin van der Walt that it published incorrect or misleading information related to the sale of a 60 percent stake in an oil block in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Total SA.

Uranium One Inc. (UUU SJ), the producer of the uranium mineral used to make nuclear fuel, fell the most in almost two years, dropping 9.96 rand, or 24 percent, to 31.60 rand. Australian uranium producers and explorers also slumped on concern demand for nuclear energy will decline as Japan worked to prevent a meltdown at reactors damaged by last week’s earthquake and tsunami. First Uranium Corp. (FUM SJ), a Toronto-based company that also mines gold, declined the most since Feb. 23, losing 43 cents, or 6.2 percent, to 6.52 rand. An accident suspended production at its Ezulwini mine in South Africa, the company said.

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