U.S. Markets open in 4 hrs 28 mins

South Africa's Massmart annual profit rises 2 percent

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 22 (Reuters) - South African retailer Massmart Holdings on Thursday posted a 2 percent rise in annual profit, helped by cost cuts as consumers battling high personal debt levels spent warily.

Massmart, majority owned by Walmart Inc, said headline earnings per share for the 53-week period ended December rose to 607.3 cents from 595.5 cents compared to the prior year.

Headline EPS is the most widely watched profit gauge in South Africa and strips out certain one-off items. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Sunil Nair)