* Rand slips as Fitch joins S&P in downgrade to junk
* Stocks down led by banking and resource shares
(Updates figures, adds background, quotes)
JOHANNESBURG, April 7 South Africa's rand
slipped on Friday after a second ratings agency, Fitch,
downgraded the country's credit status to "junk" on economic
uncertainty after last week's sacking of Finance Minister Pravin
Bank and resource stocks also succumbed to that pressure.
By 1500 GMT the rand was down 0.3 percent at
13.7975 per dollar, less of a fall than expected as the
greenback wavered following weak jobs data.
The rand has fallen more than 11 percent since March 27,
when President Jacob Zuma recalled Gordhan from an investor
roadshow to Britain and the United States.
"Either the market has fully priced-in the downgrades or it
believes that this is good for the country and that it might
eventually see President Zuma forced out of office," Nedbank
senior economist Isaac Mashego said.
Fitch on Friday followed S&P Global Ratings and downgraded
South Africa to "junk", citing Gordhan's dismissal as one
reason. S&P had issued its downgrade on South Africa in an
unscheduled review on Monday.
Following the downgrades, J.P. Morgan said it would drop
South Africa from its investment-grade emerging market bond
indexes by late April.
The ratings agency moves are likely to force international
tracker funds, or funds prohibited from holding sub-investment
grade securities, to sell South African assets.
On the bourse, the benchmark Top-40 index fell 0.18
percent to 46,085 points while the All-Share index
dipped 0.12 percent to 52,853 points.
The mining index fell 0.58 percent on the back of
weaker iron ore prices, while the banking index fell
0.39 percent after the Fitch downgrade. [nL3N1HF2V7}
"The iron ore price is down quite a bit, so sentiment
towards these resource shares is a little weaker," Cratos
Capital equities trader Greg Davies said.
Among the biggest fallers, ArcelorMittal fell 7.30
percent to 9.65 rand, Kumba Iron Ore dropped 4.19
percent to 214.65 and African Rainbow Minerals lowered
2.79 percent to 100.61.
Losses were curbed by gains in gold miners' shares, which
benefited from bullion prices climbing to five-month highs.
Goldfields rose 6.30 percent to 53.00 rand and
AngloGold Ashanti climbed 3.84 percent to 170.81.
In the fixed income market, bond prices were firmer on the
day as high yields attracted some buying. Benchmark yields on
bonds due in 2026 dropped 9 basis points to 8.93 percent.
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana and Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by