2018 was the worst year in a decade for SA stocks

JOHANNESBURG — The JSE All Share Index (Alsi) was down 11% in rand terms last year. In dollar terms, it was down 24%. As investment veteran Magnus Heystek tweeted this week, it’s time for South Africans to start worrying about their retirement fund returns, especially in light of regulations that enforce an overreliance on SA equities. Of course, global markets overall have come under big pressure in 2018 as interest rates in the US started rising and the days of quantitative easing started coming to an end. All these factors will make 2019 that more interesting. – Gareth van Zyl 

By John Viljoen

(Bloomberg) — South African stocks climbed 0.6 percent in the final session of 2018 after President Donald Trump reported “big progress” in trade talks with China, paring losses for a year that’s still the market’s worst since 2008.

BHP Group Plc contributed to gains in Monday’s shortened trading, advancing 1.1 percent. MTN Group Ltd. rose for a fourth day, extending its rally since Africa’s largest wireless carrier resolved a dispute with the Nigerian central bank over $8.1 billion of fund transfers.

Johannesburg’s FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index ended the year down 11 percent, its worst performance since 2008. Naspers Ltd. was the biggest drag on the benchmark, in terms of index points, dropping 16 percent for the worst annual performance by Africa’s largest company by market value since 2001.

Anglo American Platinum Ltd. was the best-performing index member, climbing 52 percent in 2018. Property investor Lighthouse Capital Ltd. was the worst, dropping 85 percent.

Troubled retailer Steinhoff International Holdings NV’s Johannesburg-traded shares fell 63 percent.  An index of South African gold stocks soared 25 percent in December as investors turned to bullion as a haven.

Over 2018, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. was the sector’s best performer, climbing 41 percent. The South African benchmark index fared better than the 17 percent decline in emerging markets. In dollar terms, however, Johannesburg stocks delivered a 24 percent loss for investors.