As the rand strengthened, investors sold off shares in local companies that earn the bulk of their revenues in hard currency, known as rand hedge shares, dragging the index lower.(SABC)
South Africa's rand extended gains against the dollar on Thursday and government bonds firmed, helped by slowing inflation and the government's rejection of nationalisation of mines and banks.
Stocks were little changed, as rand hedges and gold shares fell.
At 1500 GMT, the rand had gained 0.79% to 13.1725 per dollar, its firmest since March 31, compared to a close of 13.2775 overnight in New York.
In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 fell 12 basis points to 8.670%.
"The investment community's view is that inflation is falling sharper than what the Reserve Bank currently anticipates and the country's real rate story later this year is going to look a lot more compelling than what it does at the moment. Therefore, the support for government bonds remains," said BNP Paribas Cadiz Securities Jeffrey Schultz.
Statistics South Africa's data showed on Wednesday consumer inflation eased in March and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba dismissed calls from one of his own advisers for the nationalisation of banks and mines.
On the bourse, the benchmark Top-40 index closed 0.08% down at 45 735 points, while the broader All-share index lost 0.09% to 52 496 points.
As the rand strengthened, investors sold off shares in local companies that earn the bulk of their revenues in hard currency, known as rand hedge shares, dragging the index lower.
"Rand hedge shares are a bit lower, it's the combination of the slightly lower gold price and the rand strength," said Cratos Capital equities trader Greg Davies.
BHP Billiton declined 0.36% to 203.77 rand, Richemont SA fell 0.45% to 104.44 rand, while Mediclinic International dropped 0.77% to 122.97 rand.
Gold shares also weakened as the bullion price came under pressure, with markets awaiting the outcome of the looming French presidential election.
Harmony Gold was down by 5.02% to 31.42 rand, while Sibanye Gold dropped 4.29% to 29.86 rand.