April 5, 2012 / 4:02 PM / 5 years ago

S.Africa stocks lifted ahead of long weekend

* U.S. jobs data Friday may set mkt tone next week

* Bargain hunting seen among hard-hit resource stocks

JOHANNESBURG, April 5 (Reuters) - South African stocks clawed back some lost ground on Thursday, as investors bought back shares of Kumba Iron Ore and other resource stocks that had been hammered in the previous session.

But traders said the recovery was also tempered with caution, ahead of a four-day Easter holiday that starts on Friday.

“Resources have been hard hit so you would expect a bit of bottom fishing and bargain hunting,” said Ferdi Heyneke, portfolio manager at Afrifocus Securities.

“We might have had a better rally today if it wasn’t for this fairly long break coming up.”

South Africa’s blue-chip Top-40 index added 1.12 percent to 29,754.87, after suffering its biggest percentage decline since October on Wednesday when it slid 2.6 percent.

The broader All-share index bounced back 0.98 percent to 33,665.08.

Resource shares helped lead the recovery, with Kumba jumping 3.4 to 532.19 rand.

Gold miners also gained, with Gold Fields, the world No. 4 producer of the precious metal, climbing 1.24 percent.

Lender Nedbank, which dropped more than 4 percent in the previous session, rose 5.05 percent to 167.16 rand.

Domestic and most major global markets will be closed on Friday, even as U.S. releases its March employment report.

Economists polled by Reuters expect the employment report will show the U.S. economy added 203,000 jobs last month, for a fourth straight month of solid job creation, marking the longest stretch of monthly employment gains topping 200,000 since 1999.

That could set the tone in Johannesburg next week, with investors playing catch up on Tuesday.

Advancers outnumbered decliners on Thursday 153 to 119 while 69 stocks were unchanged. Preliminary data also showed that around 181.5 million shares changed hands. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; editing by David Dolan)

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