South African Stocks Rally to Record as Emerging Markets Climb

South African equities rose to a record as emerging-market shares rallied after a cease-fire deal was signed between Ukraine and Russia.

The FTSE/JSE Africa All-Share Index gained 0.8 percent to 52,507.93 by the close in Johannesburg. Northam Platinum Ltd. led advances as metal prices climbed, while Woolworths Holdings Ltd. rallied after saying food sales in Africa’s second-biggest economy soared.

“We’ve had a fantastic run,” Michele Santangelo, a money manager at Vunani Private Clients, said by phone from Johannesburg. “We might be a little bit stretched, but we might push a bit higher going into March.”

After more than 18 hours of talks, an agreement to stem the conflict that’s devastated eastern Ukraine and jolted investors in emerging markets, including South Africa, was signed in Minsk, Belarus. The rand gained for the first time in a week, advancing 0.4 percent to 11.7768 per dollar by 5:16 p.m. local time, after retreating to a 13-year low on Wednesday.

“The rand’s been a little bit weak so it’s helped push some of our dual-listed” stocks higher, including Mediclinic International Ltd., Santangelo said. South African stocks that have listings on international exchanges or earnings in foreign currencies are seen by some investors as a hedge against rand weakness.

Mediclinic climbed a second day, adding 5.5 percent to 125.13 rand, a record. Anglo American Plc, the global mining company with operations in six continents and listings in South Africa, the U.S. and the U.K, rose 4.2 percent to 209.99 rand.

Platinum Gains

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index climbed after the Ukraine announcement and as finance ministers from the euro area concluded talks, saying that compromise was possible on Greece’s future financing.

“A bit more positivity about Greece maybe getting sorted out improved the outlook in the shorter term as well,” Santangelo said.

More than half of the shares on South Africa’s main gauge rose. Northam climbed 9.9 percent to 47.89 rand, a day after saying earnings per share for the six months through December would be between 80 cents and 98 cents, compared with a year-earlier loss. Spot platinum prices increased for the first time in five days. Woolworths increased 5.2 percent to 86.69 rand.

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