South Africa stocks flat but African Bank jumps

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African stocks ended little-changed on Thursday as a recovery in shares of Shoprite was counterbalanced by a decline in bullion producers such as AngloGold Ashanti after a drop in gold.

Shares of African Bank Investment rose more than 5 percent to 19.40 rand after the mass-market lender said it agreed to pay a regulatory fine of 20 million rand for reckless lending, well below what investors had expected.

Sentiment was dented by the budget fight in the United States that has shut down the government of the world's largest economy for three straight days.

"People are still concerned about the U.S. government shutdown because one doesn't know how long this is will go on," said Greg Davies, an equities trader at brokerage Cratos Capital. "It has created a lot of uncertainty."

The benchmark Top-40 index inched up 0.02 percent to 39,370.63. The All-Share index, the widest measure of South African stock market performance, added 0.09 percent to 44,006.86.

Shoprite Holdings, Africa's largest retailer, rose 3 percent to 171.30 rand. Shares of the company are still down 16 percent this year, as investors have cashed profits after years of heady gains, including a 50 percent surge last year.

AngloGold Ashanti, Africa's top producer of the precious metal, fell 1.8 percent to 129.35 rand. Bullion fell as investors booked profits after the previous session's gains due to uncertainty about the U.S. government shutdown.

Shares of Anglo American Platinum, the world's top producer of the precious metal, rose 0.6 percent to 410 rand. The company said it is losing an average of 3,100 ounces of production a day from a strike at its South African operations.

Trade activity was relatively slow with 166 million shares changing hands, according to preliminary bourse data. A total of 167 shares advanced, 144 declined and 67 were unchanged.

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