UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand falls as risk aversion grows; stocks flat

  • Reuters
  • Forex News
UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand falls as risk aversion grows; stocks flat
Credit: © Reuters.

* Rand sinks as aversion hits emerging markets

* Stocks flat amid caution before speech by Zuma (Updates figures, gives details, fresh quotes)

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 7 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand weakened on Tuesday as risk aversion grew, amid worries a far-right candidate was gaining momentum in France's presidential race.

Stocks were barely changed, with investors cautious before South Africa's State on the Nation address.

By 1550 GMT, the rand ZAR=D3 had weakened 1.1 percent to 13.4125 per dollar from an overnight close of 13.2800, with most of the losses coming early in the session.

In France, a poll released on Tuesday showed the right-wing candidate, Marine Le Pen, was likely to win the first round of an increasingly contentious presidential election. However, the sane poll showed she would then lose the second round, with Macron taking 66 percent of the vote Pen has pledged to take France out of the European Union if she wins. Fears that France might quit the EU, setting off an economic shock, led traders to sell riskier assets and seek refuge in the U.S. dollar also weakened, with yield on the benchmark bond due in 2026 ZAR186= adding 6 basis points to 8.88 percent.

On the stock exchange, the benchmark Top-40 index .JTOPI ticked up 0.03 percent to 45,367 points. The All-Share index .JALSH edged up 0.06 percent to 52,182 points.

Stocks remained under pressure before an address by President Jacob Zuma.

"A bit of concern about the State of the Nation on Thursday. A lot of participants are sitting on the sidelines waiting to see if there is any political news," said Cratos Capital equity analyst Greg Davies

Brait BATJ.J fell 3.79 percent to 77.45 rand, MTN MTNJ.J dropped 1.76 percent to 117.75 rand and Redefine Properties RDFJ.J lowered 1.55 percent to 10.80 rand.

Further losses were curbed by Harmony Gold HARJ.J , which rose 4.77 percent to 37.31 rand, and Gold Fields GFIJ.J , which gained 2.14 percent to 48.25 rand, as gold shares benefited from safe-haven buying.

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