Bourse flat but Spar helps mus­cle food in­dex higher

The Star Early Edition - - PRICES - Reuters and Bloomberg

STOCKS ended flat yes­ter­day but food re­tailer Spar Group surged to a record after it re­ported higher full-year earn­ings mostly due to new ac­qui­si­tions.

The Top40 in­dex edged 0.1 per­cent lower to 44 935 points while the all share in­dex was flat at 50 374.

Spar rose 8.5 per­cent to R145, after ear­lier hit­ting a lifetime high and helped push the JSE’s in­dex of food re­tail­ers to the high­est in a year.

De­spite the gains, con­cerns re­main about the strength of lo­cal con­sumer spend­ing as shop­pers strug­gle with debt and un­em­ploy­ment.

“Re­tail is a dif­fi­cult space to see com­pa­nies re­ally shoot the lights out in terms of earn­ings right now,” said Ju­lian Mas­son from Pan-African As­set Man­age­ment.

Data yes­ter­day showed re­tail sales in Septem­ber re­mained lack­lus­tre.

Re­tailer Sho­prite said it would take over the leases of some stores run by 45-year-old fur­ni­ture re­tailer El­ler­ines, which is be­ing forced to close down. Sho­prite rose 1.42 per- cent to R169.40.

Lewis Group is buy­ing the Beares brand from El­ler­ines. The Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion said yes­ter­day that no staff could be fired as a re­sult of the ac­qui­si­tion and it must of­fer job op­por­tu­ni­ties to the em­ploy­ees made re­dun­dant by El­ler­ines at the Beares shops,. Lewis’s share price rose 4.07 per­cent to R67.70.

Re­tailer Fos­chini’s shares added 4.1 per­cent to R 132 to the high­est level since Jan­uary 2013 after Credit Suisse. raised the group to out­per­form ver­sus neu­tral.

Lead­ing the de­clin­ers was e-com­merce firm Naspers, which was hit after China’s Ten­cent – in which Naspers owns about a third – re­ported its slow­est rev­enue growth in 7 years. Napers shares fell 1.84 per­cent to R1 374.52.

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