November 7, 2017 / 3:48 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-South African stocks hit new record, rand weakens

* Rand falls tracking emerging markets

* Stocks lift led by heavy-weight Naspers (Adds detail, updates figures)

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Bourse heavyweight Naspers and retailer Mr Price helped push South African stocks to new record highs on Tuesday, while the rand weakened in line with other emerging market currencies.

The benchmark JSE Top-40 index added 0.5 percent to close at a high of 53,833 points while the broader All-share index gained 0.35 percent to close at a record of 60,183 points.

Naspers, which holds a 33 percent stake in Hong Kong listed Tencent, rose 2.57 percent to 3632.65 rand buoyed by gains in the Chinese gaming giant.

“Tencent was up 3 percent in Hong Kong so it was inevitable Naspers would follow this afternoon,” said Cratos Capital equities trader Greg Davies.

Mr Price topped the list of gainers on the blue-chip index, up 8.61 percent to 192.25 rand, after it flagged higher half year earnings.

Cement maker PPC rose 1.40 percent to 7.22 rand after saying it expected an increase of as much as 40 percent in half year profit.

On the currency market, the rand lost 0.6 percent against the U.S. dollar to trade at 14.1800/$.

Halen Bothma, an economist at ETM Analytics, said dollar strength was the main factor at play but traders were also unnerved by local media reports about possible increased public spending on free education.

“The fragile domestic backdrop is not very supportive, and it’s hard to see where the rand can find support in the near term,” Bothma said.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was up 3.5 basis points to 9.225 percent. (Reporting by Alexander Winning and Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Joe Brock)

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