EMERGING MARKETS-Latin American stocks slip on U.S. budget talk concerns

Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:27am EST

* Investor concerns rise over U.S. fiscal conflict
    * Profit-taking fuels Bovespa drop
    * Brazil Bovespa falls 0.47 pct, Mexico IPC flat

    By Asher Levine and Danielle Assalve
    SAO PAULO, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks edged
lower on Thursday as ongoing concerns over U.S. budget talks
sapped risk appetite and led profit-takers to lock in recent
gains.
     MSCI Latin American stock index fell 0.14
percent to 3,813.14 after having reached its highest closing
level since early May in the previous session.
    Shares of state-controlled oil firm Petrobras weighed on
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index, while Mexico's IPC
index was little changed.
    Worries over U.S. fiscal negotiations grew more heated on
Thursday with investors nervously looking for any sign of
progress towards averting the "fiscal cliff" of steep tax hikes
and budget cuts set for January. 
    "As we get closer to Christmas without a deal between 
Republicans and Democrats...the market has turning more volatile
and is losing steam," said Pedro Galdi, chief strategist with
SLW Corretora in Sao Paulo.
    Brazil's Bovespa index fell for the first session in three,
losing 0.47 percent to 60,713.11.
    Shares of state-controlled oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA
, known as Petrobras, shed 1.24 percent as investors
booked profits following a 5 percent gain over the previous two
sessions.
    Shares of exchange operator BM&FBovespa SA fell
3.15 percent following an over 6 percent rise over the previous
two days, while state-controlled lender Banco do Brasil SA
 rose 1.32 percent. 
    Logistics firm LLX Logistica SA, controlled by
billionaire Eike Batista, rose 6.3 percent after the company
signed a contract with a steel tube manufacturer to set up
operations in its Açu superport. 
    Retailers Lojas Americanas SA and Lojas Renner SA
 gained 1.14 percent and 0.76 percent, respectively,
as a central bank report released earlier on Thursday boosted
expectations for a prolonged period of record-low interest
rates. 
    "There is optimism around retailers on the expectation that
growth in the end of the year will be strong," said Fabio
Goncalves, an analyst with Banrisul Corretora in Porto Alegre,
Brazil, who added that the outlook for lower interest rates
could help boost consumption.
    Mexico's IPC index was little changed at 43,658.49
points, with gains by retail giant Wal-Mart de Mexico
 partially offsetting losses by telecommunications
firm America Movil.
    Chile's IPSA index slipped 0.29 percent to 4,278.83
as a technical indicator known as the relative strength index
retreated from "overbought" territory for the first session in
four, suggesting a lower likelihood that stocks will fall
further in coming days.
    Industrial conglomerate Copec fell 0.47 percent,
contributing most to the index's losses, while retailer
Falabella rose 0.9 percent.
    
    Latin America's key stock indexes at 1439 GMT:
 Stock indexes                           daily %      YTD %
                          Latest          change     change
 MSCI LatAm                  3,813.14      -0.14          6
                                                  
 Brazil Bovespa             60,713.11      -0.47       6.98
                                                  
 Mexico IPC                 43,658.49       0.02      17.75
                                                  
 Chile IPSA                  4,278.83      -0.29       2.42
                                                  
 Chile IGPA                 20,935.21      -0.21       4.00
                                                  
 Argentina MerVal            2,847.08        0.1      15.61
                                                  
 Colombia IGBC              14,618.35      -0.19      15.42
                                                  
 Peru IGRA                  20,447.60      -0.09       5.00
                                                  
 Venezuela IBC             465,312.94          0     297.58
A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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