EMERGING MARKETS-LatAm stocks up modestly despite European risk
* Brazil's Bovespa up 0.6 pct; Mexico's IPC up 0.6 pct * Chile, Colombia markets closed for holidays * Concerns over gov't measures weigh on Brazilian shares By Danielle Assalve SAO PAULO, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks rose moderately in early Monday trading as investors kept their enthusiasm in check after strong economic data in the United States and China, and waited for details on financial help for Spain. The MSCI Latin American stock index rose a modest 0.5 percent, cutting early gains as the Standard & Poor's 500, the benchmark U.S. stock index, zigzagged between negative and positive territories. The S&P 500 was up 0.4 percent near midday in New York. Markets were closed in Chile and Colombia for the Columbus Day. Wall Street had a choppy morning trading even after better- than-expected U.S. retail sales and Chinese export data. "The indicators that came out were all good, but risk aversion remains," said Alvaro Bandeira, partner at Orama Investimentos in Rio de Janeiro. "European leaders will meet this week. Markets will be on the lookout for it." The European Council of leaders will meet on Thursday and Friday to discuss the introduction of a central budget that could be used to help struggling countries, according to a report obtained by Reuters. Spain, which replaced Greece, Ireland and Portugal as the main focus in the euro zone's debt crisis, may ask for financial aid from the euro zone next month, euro-zone officials said. Brazilian stocks weighed on the MSCI regional index as shares of fuel distributors fell on concern over government intervention in the sector. Shares of Ultrapar and Cosan fell about 3 percent after Brazil's weekly magazine IstoE reported that President Dilma Rousseff's government is considering ordering state-owned BR Distribuidora to lower fuel prices to consumers, forcing its competitors to do the same. Aggressive government efforts to jumpstart the economy and take it out of a year-long lull have also hurt shares of banks and electricity companies over the past few months. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index was up 0.6 percent at 59,515.82 points. Trading was more volatile and volumes may be larger than usual because of the settlement and expiration of futures contracts on the local stock exchange. Shares in oil company HRT Participacoes em Petroleo SA rose 8.7 percent after the company said it was in talks with state-led oil company Petrobras and others about ways to sell its Amazon natural gas. Mexico's IPC index gained 0.6 percent as shares in cement maker Cemex gained about 1 percent. The company posted a narrower third-quarter loss, helped by stronger results at its key Mexican and U.S. markets. Latin America's key stock indexes at 1612 GMT: MSCI LatAm 3,712.58 0.49 2.56 Brazil Bovespa 59,407.13 0.41 4.67 Mexico IPC 41,866.54 0.48 12.92 Argentina MerVal 2,398.87 -0.05 -2.59 Peru IGRA 21,374.68 -0.17 9.76 Venezuela IBC 375,942.69 4.06 221.22
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