The benchmark Top40 index rose 1.1 percent to 41 657.52, not far off its record high of 42 052.44 set earlier this month. The broad all share index added 1 percent to 46 442.45. Naspers and other firms with overseas earnings also rose, lifted by the crumbling rand, which hit a five-year low. Massmart , the African unit of US retailer Walmart , jumped 5.5 percent to R131.85, its biggest one-day gain since 2010. The discount retailer reported a near 10 percent rise in annual sales, slightly above the 9.4 percent growth estimate in a Reuters poll, but enough to impress investors who had expected another bleak outlook from a South African retailer. "Some investors were expecting substantially poor sales and to them this is a pleasant surprise," said Warwick Lucas , an analyst at brokerage Imara SP Reid . Retailers were helped by data yesterday that showed sales increased 4.2 percent year on year in November, outstripping economists' expectations of 1 percent growth. Bucking the trend was high-end food and clothing chain Woolworths, which failed to impress investors with double-digit sales growth in its first half. The shares fell 2.6 percent to R71.50. The rand's fall to its lowest level since late 2008 helped companies with overseas revenue. Media and e-commerce firm Naspers , the best-performing blue chip last year, added to its record run, advancing 3.2 percent to R1 147.50. Shares of Datatec fell 4.13 percent to R49.18 after the information technology firm cuts its full-year outlook for the second time, citing underperformance at its Westcon unit in the US. Datatec said it expected headline earnings for the year to February to be at least 20 percent below the revised estimate of 40c a share it gave in October last year. Pretoria News
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