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South African Stocks: Afrox, Anglo, FirstRand, Woolworths Move

July 19 (Bloomberg) -- The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index rose 187.09, or 0.6 percent, to 32,058.68 by the 5 p.m. close in Johannesburg.

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

Africa Oxygen Ltd. (AFX SJ), South Africa’s largest producer of industrial gases, fell for the first day in eight, slipping 86 cents, or 4 percent, to 20.70 rand. The group reported a 54 percent fall in net profit for the six months to end June.

Anglo American Plc (AGL SJ), the diversified mining company that makes up 10 percent of the benchmark stock index, rose for the first day in four, adding 6.20 rand, or 1.9 percent, to 332.20 rand. Copper for three month delivery gained as much as 1.9 percent to $9,873.50 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange after a government report showed housing starts in the U.S., the world’s second-biggest user of the metal, gained more than forecast in June.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BIL SJ), the world’s largest mining company, added 4.88 rand, or 1.9 percent, to 261.38 rand.

FirstRand Ltd. (FSR SJ), South Africa’s second-largest banking group, gained 13 cents, or 0.7 percent, to 19.60 rand. Analysts and investors expect the group to pay a special dividend following the 4 billion-rand ($570 million) sale of one of its insurance units.

Illovo Sugar Ltd. (ILV SJ), Africa’s biggest producer of the sweetener, lost 21 cents, or 0.8 percent, to 26.29 rand. Sugar production for the current year is expected to be little changed from last year as the effect of drought conditions in South Africa is offset by increased production at operations elsewhere in Africa, the group said in an update at its annual general meeting today.

Woolworths Holdings Ltd. (WHL SJ), a South African food and clothing retailer, closed at its highest in more than 13 years, rising 86 cents, or 2.8 percent, to 31.71 rand. Fiscal full-year profit rose as much as 30 percent, the group said in a trading update.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Gunnion in Johannesburg at sgunnion@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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