October 31, 2018 / 3:59 PM / 20 days ago

UPDATE 1-South African stocks follow global rally, rand falls on trade data

(Updates with closing prices)

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 31 (Reuters) - South African markets sharply diverged on Wednesday, with stocks tracking a global rally higher while the rand yielded ground to a resurgent dollar.

At 1530 GMT, the rand was 1.4 percent lower against the dollar, which scaled its highest level in 16 months against a basket of currencies as investors bought the greenback on rising Treasury yields.

The rand was further hobbled by data that showed South Africa’s trade balance swung to a 2.95 billion rand ($199 million) deficit in September from a revised 8.77 billion rand surplus in August.

Stocks made hefty gains, led by market heavyweight Naspers , as global markets bounced back at the end of a volatile month.

The blue chip Top-40 index surged 3.61 percent to 46,141 points, while the wider All Share index was 3.22 percent firmer at 52,388 points.

The All-share index had lost 8 percent this month before Wednesday, amid rising U.S. interest rates and concerns about global growth.

Naspers bounced back from recent lows, jumping 9.40 percent to 2,593 rand as its Chinese cash spinner Tencent, the gaming and social media firm in which it has a 31 percent stake, closed 5.87 percent firmer.

“A combination of multiple factors conspired in their favour. The MSCI statement yesterday went in Naspers shareholders’ way and Tencent also closed stronger,” said Greg Davies, equities trader at Cratos Capital.

Index provider MSCI Inc said on Tuesday it would allow companies, such as Naspers, with a dual voting system that give shareholders unequal voting rights to remain in its equity indexes without their weightings being reduced.

$1 = 14.7969 rand Reporting by Patricia Aruo and Ed Stoddard; Editing by Mark Potter

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