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JOHANNESBURG, Feb 24 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand was little changed in early trade on Friday after it hit an 18 month-high in the previous session.
* At 0733 GMT, the rand traded 0.02 percent down at 12.8850 per dollar.
* The rand stayed near to its New York close on Thursday as momentum fuelled its rally to break key technical levels after reaching an 18 month-high against the dollar earlier in the session.
* "The rand has led the charge, but not because of anything locally. Simple momentum, rather, appears to be the driver — a break of key levels generates further rand buying and so further breaks," RMB Global Markets analyst John Cairns wrote in a note.
* In fixed income, the yield on the benchmark government bond due in 2026 firmed slightly, shedding 1 basis points to 8.690 percent.
* On the bourse, stocks opened lower, with the JSE securities exchange's Top-40 index down 0.62 percent. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by James Macharia)