EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks rise on hope for U.S. budget deal

Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:56am EST

Related Topics

* Obama, Boehner narrow differences on taxes for wealthy
    * Foreign investors returning to Bovespa
    * Brazil Bovespa gains 0.42 pct, Mexico IPC up 0.23 pct

    By Asher Levine and Danielle Assalve
    SAO PAULO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks rose on
Tuesday as signs of progress in U.S. budget negotiations boosted
appetite for riskier assets.
    Mining firms and steelmakers drove Brazil's Bovespa index to
its second gaining session in three, while Mexico's IPC index
 reached a new record high.
    Shares rose after President Barack Obama on Monday moved
closer to Republican House of Representatives Speaker John
Boehner in budget negotiations over tax rates for high earners.
Boehner said Tuesday that Obama's most recent offer was "not
there yet" but said he still hopes he can reach a deal with the
White House. [ID:nL1E8NI58}
    Both sides need to reach an agreement to avert the "fiscal
cliff" of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that would kick
in next year, fears of which have weighed on demand for Latin
American equities.
     "There is expectation that they will reach an accord this
year, which is cheering up the market," said Felipe Rocha, an
analyst with Omar Camargo Corretora in Curitiba, Brazil. "It's
still not totally priced in yet, though, so if an agreement is
reached, stocks have space to gain a bit more."
    Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index rose 0.42
percent to 59,818.63, a level it hasn't closed above in two
months.
    Preferred shares of iron-ore mining firm Vale SA 
contributed most to the index's rise, climbing 1.1 percent,
while steelmaker Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA
, known as Usiminas, gained 3.32 percent.
    Shares of state-controlled oil company Petrobras 
rose 0.4 percent despite a decision by credit ratings company
Moody's Investors Service to revise the outlook on the company's
A3 credit rating to "negative" from "stable" on Monday.
 
    The shares, which tend to attract foreign investors looking
for exposure to Brazilian stocks due to their high liquidity,
remained in positive territory due to the general increase in
risk appetite on Tuesday, Rocha added.
    Net foreign investor flows into the Sao Paulo stock market 
reached 1.43 billion reais ($682.4 million) for the first two
weeks of December, the stock market said Tuesday. Year-to-date,
however, there has been a net foreign investor outflow of 463.2
million reais.
    Foreign investors are cautiously stepping back into
Brazilian equities after fears of government intervention in the
private sector and worries over stagnant economic growth led
them away in recent months.
    "As worries over government intervention get priced in
better and as the situation in Europe clears up a bit...it
changes risk perception and allows foreigners to up their bets
on the growth in our economy," said Daniel Garcia, retail
trading manager with Corretora Souza Barros in Sao Paulo.
    Shares of JBS SA, the world's largest meatpacker,
rose 1.6 percent after analysts at BTG Pactual Group upped their
price target for the stock on Tuesday, citing management's
effective reduction of the company's debt. 
    Mexico's IPC index gained for the third session in
four, adding 0.23 percent and reaching a record-high 43,436.67
points.
    A technical indicator known as the relative strength index
rose to its most "overbought" level since mid-July, however,
indicating stocks may be due to fall in coming sessions.
    Lender Grupo Financiero Banorte rose 1.37
percent, contributing most to the index's gains, while bottling
group Femsa added 0.43 percent. 
    Shares of retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico dropped
1.86 percent after the New York Times reported on Monday that
the firm routinely used bribes to open stores in desirable
locations. 
    Chile's IPSA index was little changed at 4,282.85
points as a 0.84 percent gain by retailer Cencosud was
partially offset by a 0.37 percent loss by regional energy group
Endesa.

    Latin America's key stock indexes at 1508 GMT:
    
 Stock indexes                           daily %      YTD %
                          Latest          change     change
 MSCI LatAm                  3,740.48        0.1       3.73
                                                  
 Brazil Bovespa             59,818.63       0.42       5.40
                                                  
 Mexico IPC                 43,436.67       0.23      17.15
                                                  
 Chile IPSA                  4,282.85       0.07       2.52
                                                  
 Chile IGPA                 20,935.48       0.04       4.00
                                                  
 Argentina MerVal            2,801.10       1.51      13.74
                                                  
 Colombia IGBC              14,600.20       0.06      15.27
                                                  
 Peru IGRA                  20,215.96       0.26       3.81
                                                  
 Venezuela IBC             476,415.25          0     307.07
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