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South African stocks kick off Q4 with solid gains

* All-share index up 1.4 pct at 36,269.27

* Top-40 index gains 1.8 pct to 32,085.81

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 1 (Reuters) - South African stocks ended sharply higher on the first day of the fourth quarter on Monday, rising nearly 2 percent as mining companies made a strong recovery from oversold levels following a spate of wildcat strikes.

Indices were further boosted by an upbeat mood in major overseas equity markets after a surprise expansion in the U.S. manufacturing sector last month.

A wave of illegal mine strikes has roiled Africa's biggest economy in recent weeks, hitting mining stocks on fears of production losses or expensive wage deals with striking workers.

"There are underlying concerns about the unrest in the industry but the situation seems to be contained and that has helped some of the stocks to recover and push higher," said Travis Robson, a trader PSG Securities.

The benchmark JSE Top-40 index added 1.8 percent to 32,085.81 and the broader All-share index improved 1.4 percent to 36,269.27.

Anglo American topped the gainers list on the benchmark index, climbing 4.7 percent to 252.07 cents, after falling almost 7 percent in the previous five sessions.

The company said after the close of trade on Monday that attendance at its Rustenburg operations remained low and called on striking workers to attend disciplinary hearings on Tuesday.

Rival BHP Billiton was up 3.4 percent at 257.85 rand. Copper rose on Monday as the euro rebounded and the dollar fell but more evidence of shrinking factory activity in China and renewed worries over public debt problems in Spain capped gains.

Coal of Africa , which has also been hit by a wildcat strike, surged 14.7 percent to 2.11 rand after China's Beijing Haohua Energy Resource Co Ltd offered $100 million for a 23.6 percent stake in the coal mining firm.

Imperial Holdings , the biggest transport group in South Africa, fell 2.41 percent to 187.51 rand as a strike for higher pay by the nation's truck drivers entered its second week.

A total 166 million shares changed hands, with 154 companies gaining ground and another 137 losing value.

(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by David Dolan)

((tiisetso.motsoeneng@thomsonreuters.com)(+27 11 775 3122)(Reuters Messaging: tiisetso.motsoeneng.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: SAFRICA STOCKS/