October 4, 2017 / 4:44 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's rand climbs off 6-month low, stocks rise

(Adds closing prices)

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 4 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand firmed on Wednesday, regaining ground after tumbling to its weakest in six months as the weaker dollar overshadowed data showing shrinking private sector activity at home.

The rand gained 0.46 percent to 13.5925 per dollar compared with a close of 13.6550 overnight in New York.

The dollar index stepped back from a 1-1/2-month high, relieving pressure on the rand that had seen the currency sell off sharply in the past week and eventually sink to 13.7700 in the previous session, its weakest level since April 10.

South African private sector activity shrank at the fastest rate in 17 months in September as output, new orders and employment declined, a survey showed.

In fixed income, the yield for the benchmark government bond due in 2026 was down 3.5 basis points at 8.615 percent.

On the stock market, the benchmark Top-40 index was up 0.8 percent at 50,542 points, while the broader All-share index advanced 0.7 percent to 56,750 points.

Shoprite was one of the biggest winners, up 3.2 percent at around 209 rand, as Morgan Stanley raised its target price for Africa's largest grocer to 219 rand.

On the downside, Mobile operator Vodacom dropped 3.2 percent after the anti-trust watchdog said it was investigation the company for abuse of market dominance in securing an exclusive contract with the government. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and TJ Strydom; Editing by Toby Chopra/Jeremy Gaunt)

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