South African Stocks: Anglo, Richemont, Sasol, Woolworths Move

The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index fell for a third day, declining 362.31, or 1.2 percent, to 29,525.83 by the 5 p.m. close in Johannesburg.

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

Anglo American Plc (AGL SJ), the mining company that makes up about 9 percent of the benchmark stock index, dropped for a fourth day, slipping 2.32 rand, or 0.9 percent, to 270.68 rand. Copper retreated for a third session in New York as a slowing euro-area economy fanned concern a worsening European sovereign-debt crisis may weigh on demand for industrial metals.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BIL SJ), the world’s largest mining group, closed at its lowest in almost four weeks, falling 2.59 rand, or 1.2 percent, to 220 rand.

Cie Financiere Richemont SA (CFR SJ), a maker of luxury watches, fell to its lowest since November 2010, dropping 1.66 rand, or 4.4 percent to 36.49 rand. The company was downgraded to “equalweight” from “overweight” at Barclays Capital by equity analyst Helen Brand, with a price estimate of 49 Swiss francs a share. Separately, the stock was downgraded to “sell” from “hold” at Cadiz Securities by equity analyst Shamil Ismail, with a 12-month price estimate of 38 rand per share.

Harmony Gold Mining Co. (HAR SJ), Africa’s third-largest gold company, rose to its highest in more than three weeks, adding 1.46 rand, or 1.5 percent, to 98.71 rand. South African gold production rose 6.4 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous three months, the Chamber of Mines of South Africa said.

DRDGold Ltd. (DRD SJ), South Africa’s fourth-largest producer of the metal, gained 8 cents, or 2.1 percent, 3.95 rand.

Paracon Holdings Ltd. (PCN SJ), a South African information-technology company, closed at its highest in more than two weeks, adding 3 cents, or 1.6 percent, to 1.93 rand after Adcorp Holdings Ltd. (ADR SJ) announced its intention to buy the company.

Adcorp retreated 41 cents, or 1.5 percent, to 26.99 rand.

Sasol Ltd. (SOL SJ), the world’s largest maker of motor fuel from coal, closed at its lowest in more than a week, dropping 8.98 rand, or 2.8 percent, to 311.15 rand. Crude oil in New York fell to the lowest level in more than a week on deepening concern that the European debt crisis is spreading, pressuring the euro and equities.

Woolworths Holdings Ltd. (WHL SJ), a clothing and food retailer, closed at its highest since the shares started trading in October 1997, gaining 1.01 rand, or 2.7 percent, to 38.01 rand. The company is generating cash that may be returned to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks, Patrick Mathidi, a portfolio manager at Momentum Asset Management, said by phone today.

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