February 1, 2018 / 4:44 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand edges lower, Naspers drags bourse down

(Adds stocks, updates levels)

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 1 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand weakened against the dollar on Thursday, with market attention pinned on President Jacob Zuma’s future, while market-heavyweight Naspers weighed on the bourse.

At 1632 GMT, the rand had trimmed some earlier losses and traded at 11.8775 per dollar, 0.25 percent weaker than its New York close on Wednesday.

Zuma will meet the top six officials of the ruling party over his future this weekend, the state broadcaster said on Thursday, adding to speculation he may be removed as head of state.

Any sign that Zuma could go before his second term ends next year has tended to boost South African assets.

“When will President Zuma go? This question is dominating South Africa and the rand at present,” Commerzbank analysts said in a research note.

“At present speculation about Zuma standing down is supporting the rand. However, the more the deadline approaches the more nervous investors might get.”

Government bonds were slightly stronger in, with the yield on the benchmark 2026 instrument down 3 basis points to 8.42 percent.

On the equities market, the Johannesburg All-Share index closed down 0.42 percent to 59,258 points and the blue-chip JSE Top-40 index fall 0.31 percent to 52,453 points.

Market-heavyweight Naspers continued its previous session’s slide, closing 2.05 percent lower at 3,313.05 rand.

Property shares, which have been under pressure since January on market speculation that U.S. firm Viceroy Research would release a negative report on a listed firm, also weighed on the bourse.

Resilient Reit fell 7.38 percent to 107.81 rand, while Fortress Reit was down 2.21 percent to 17.25 rand.

On the upside, Capitec bank recovered and closed 5.55 percent higher to 845 rand after its chief executive spent 1.5 million rand ($126,422.25) on shares in the company on Wednesday, exchange filings showed, a move hailed by one trader as a vote of confidence in Capitec.

“It’s a good way of showing that the directors are prepared to take the risk, so why wouldn’t the shareholder,” said Independent Securities trader Ryan Woods.

$1 = 11.8650 rand Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Joe Brock

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