South African stocks ended lower on Thursday as growing concerns about the health of the world’s second-biggest economy hit mining shares and media giant Naspers, which has heavy exposure to China.
Data showed China’s economy slowed markedly in the first two months of the year, with growth in investment, retail sales and factory output all dropping to multi-year lows.
Naspers, whose soaring share price has been fuelled by its large stake in Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings, took the most points off the benchmark index.
Shares in Africa’s biggest media group skidded 2.87% to R1 287, paring gains so far this year to just over 17%.
“Bad economic indicators from China do not bode well for resources and companies like Naspers,” said Evan Giannakis, an equity dealer at brokerage Imara SP Reid.
Overall, the JSE Top-40 index lost 0.93% to 42 213.03 and the broader All-share index gave up 0.77% to 46 825.52.
Mining shares such as Exxaro and Impala Platinum also fell after downbeat Chinese data raised concerns about the outlook for commodity prices.
Luxury goods maker Richemont, which is also exposed the world’s most populous nation, dropped 2.46% to R102.49.
Trade was average, with about 180 million shares changing hands. A total of 165 shares declined, 142 advanced and 57 were unchanged.