EMERGING MARKETS-LatAm assets gain on retail optimism
* US retail optimism eclipse weak US economic data
* Retail sales rise more than forecast in Brazil, Mexico
* Chile warns it may act to curb currency appreciation
NEW YORK, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Latin American financial markets tracked Wall Street higher on Friday on hopes U.S. retailers may have better-than-expected sales in the upcoming holiday season.
Raising expectations for the retail performance were comments by U.S. department store operator JC Penney (JPC.N), which said earnings for the holiday quarter could beat estimates, as well as better-than-expected results from Abercrombie & Fitch (AFN.N).
Retail sales are also on the rise in Latin America, underscoring a quick economic recovery that has been attracting sizable investment flows into the region.
In Brazil, the government said retail sales volumes increased for the fifth straight month in September at a month-on-month pace of 0.3 percent, more than analysts expected. [ID:nN13355010]
In Mexico, same-store sales rose 3.0 percent in October year-on-year, driven by unusually strong sales from department stores, a national retailer group said. [ID:nN12430456]
"Outperforming emerging market growth, combined with lingering excess-liquidity, should remain a key driver of a slow but structural permanent reallocation of investment capital into the emerging-market asset class," RBC Capital Markets analysts wrote in a research note.
The MSCI stock index for Latin America .MILA00000PUS rose 0.86 percent, closing the week with gains of nearly 2 percent.
The Brazilian Bovespa index .BVSP climbed 1.36 percent, while the Mexican IPC .MXX gained 0.79 percent and the Argentina MerVal .MERV rose 0.63 percent.
Brazilian stocks had a volatile session, however, before the expiration of options contracts on Monday.
Most Latin American currencies posted gains, with the Mexican peso MXN= strengthening 1.29 percent to 13.0325 per U.S. dollar and the Brazilian real BRBY finishing 0.99 percent stronger at 1.722 per greenback.
The Chilean peso CLP=CL jumped 1.12 percent to a 15-month high of 502.10 per dollar, despite a series of warnings by officials that the government may intervene to curb its appreciation. [ID:nN12419196]
The Chilean currency has been appreciating sharply after Brazil imposed a 2 percent financial tax on foreign inflows. The tax discouraged investors from borrowing dollars on the Chilean market, where interest rates are lower, to buy Brazilian assets in carry-trade operations.
Yield spreads between emerging market bonds and U.S. Treasuries, a key gauge of risk aversion, was stable at 305 basis points at the end of the day, according to the benchmark JPMorgan EMBI+ index 11EMJ.
(Editing by Diane Craft)
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