EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico stocks hit record high on US jobs data

Fri Oct 5, 2012 7:08pm EDT

* Mexican stocks get further support from reform optimism
    * Mexico IPC rises 1.24 pct to end at all-time high
    * Brazil Bovespa gains 0.19 pct, driven by homebuilders


    By Michael O'Boyle and Danielle Assalve
    MEXICO CITY/SAO PAULO, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Mexican stocks rose
to an all-time high on Friday after the U.S. unemployment rate
hit a nearly four-year low, ba ckin g h opes that U.S. demand for
Mexican exports would hold up despite a global economic
slowdown.
    Surprisingly strong American demand for Mexican-made goods 
so far this year has pushed analysts to lift economic growth
estimates for Latin America's second biggest economy. 
    Moreover, progress by lawmakers over the last week on
approving a labor reform bill has raised hopes the new
president, who takes office on Dec. 1, will succeed in pushing
through long-stalled fiscal and energy reforms. 
   "There is more confidence that the other reforms will follow
along, and this has been giving Mexico even more force," said
Gerardo Roman, head of stock trading at Activner in Mexico City.
    Mexico's IPC index rose 1.24 percent to 41,934.08
points after L abor Department data showed the U.S. unemployment
rate dropped by 0.3 percentage point in September to 7.8
percent.
    The IPC has jumped more than 6 percent since early
September, supported by pledges of monetary stimulus from the
central banks of the United States and Europe.
    Billionaire Carlos Slim's America Movil added 2.18
percent after HSBC analysts raised their rating to "overweight"
from "neutral," saying the firm would outpace rivals in meeting
growing mobile data demand with its vast Americas-wide network.
    Shares in top U.S. cement supplier Cemex rose
1.84 percent to close at its highest January 2011, adding to
gains following a successful debt offering on Thursday.
  
    Most analysts expect modest stock gains through the end of
the year. The median of a Reuters poll in late September
projected that the IPC index would end the year at 42,850, about
2 percent higher than Friday's record. 
   Mexican stocks hit a record high in July, then sold off
before climbing back. Activner's Roman said that disappointing
ea rnings from U.S.companies, which begin reporting next week,
co uld spu r a pullback.
   "This is getting a little too hot for my taste," he said.
"Earnings season could be a reality check."
    The MSCI Latin American stock index rose
0 .65 p ercent while Brazil's Bovespa index a dded 0.19 
p ercent a s it edged up off a one-month low.
    Homebuilders posted some of the index's biggest gains after
an increase in the maximum price of homes eligible for the
government's low-income housing program. 
    "That will help with investors' attitudes on the
construction industry," said analyst Marcos Pereira of the
Votorantim brokerage in Sao Paulo. "It helps in the short run
with slightly better pricing of assets in the sector." 
    Shares of Cyrela Brazil Realty, the country's
second biggest homebuilder, rose 4 .3 2 p ercent, while rival
Brookfield IncorporaƧƵes gained 4. 34 p e rcent.
    Shares of oil company OGX, controlled by
billionaire Eike Batista, shed 3 .65 p ercent. The company got an
environmental license to drill in two offshore exploration areas
in Brazil's Campos basin. 
    
    Latin America's key stock indexes at 2200 GMT:   
    
 Stock indexes                         daily %  year-to-
                         Latest         change     ate %
                                                  change
 MSCI LatAm                 3,728.90      0.65      3.51
                                                
 Brazil Bovespa            58,571.59      0.19      3.20
                                                
 Mexico IPC                41,934.08      1.24     13.10
                                                
 Chile IPSA                 4,302.69       0.6      3.00
                                                
 Chile IGPA                20,885.45      0.59      3.75
                                                
 Argentina MerVal           2,485.76      0.66      0.94
                                                
 Colombia IGBC             14,354.21      0.43     13.33
                                                
 Peru IGRA                 21,766.63       0.4     11.78
                                                
 Venezuela IBC            403,515.56      7.98    244.78
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