Around the World's Markets: Johannesburg

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SOUTH AFRICAN stocks closed modestly lower yesterday, with the government's 1999/2000 budget sparking an afternoon rally.

The Johannesburg All Share Index started the day sharply lower, but clawed back losses in late trade to close down just 0.43 per cent at 5,871.3.

Most analysts welcomed the government's pre-election budget, which included a cut in the rate of company tax from 35 to 30 per cent.

One said: "It was a good budget. It's good for business. It shows commitment to fiscal discipline."