FirstRand Ltd. (FSR), South Africa’s second-biggest financial-services company, climbed the most two weeks after saying full-year profit increased as much as 29 percent.
Shares in the lender added 1.2 percent, the most since Aug. 21, to close at 27.71 rand in Johannesburg, after earlier rising as much as 3 percent. The stock has gained 34 percent this year, outpacing a 19 percent rally in the six-member FTSE/JSE Africa Banks Index (JBNKS), which advanced less than 0.1 percent today.
Earnings per share adjusted for one-time items rose between 24 percent and 29 percent from the 183.1 cents reported last year, FirstRand said in a statement today, beating the 17 percent expected by a poll of 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Absa Group Ltd. (ASA), South Africa’s third-biggest bank, said on July 27 first-half profit declined 8.6 percent after it set aside more money for bad loans.
“They have been gaining quite a bit of retail customers and that’s translating into higher net interest income,” Faizal Moola, a banking analyst at Avior Research Ltd. in Cape Town, said by phone. “There would have been a slight increase in bad debt, but not to the extent of Absa.”
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