EMERGING MARKETS-Latin American stocks flat with low volume
* Gol shares soar on plan to spin off loyalty program * Concerns over U.S. fiscal negotiations weigh * Brazil Bovespa, Mexico IPC near flat By Asher Levine and Danielle Assalve SAO PAULO/MEXICO CITY Dec 26 (Reuters) - Latin Americans stocks ended near flat on Wednesday as low volume and lingering concerns over U.S. budget negotiations led to cautious trading. Both Brazil's Bovespa and Mexico's IPC index ended slightly down, while Chile's bourse rose 0.19 percent to 4,301 points. Despite the low volumes, the Bovespa, which ended the day at 60,959.79 points, has risen 6 percent in December, and looks set to give its best monthly showing since January. Shares of airline Gol skyrocketed on Wednesday, rising 16 percent and contributing most to the index's gains after the company announced late Friday that it would spin off its frequent-flier program, known as "Smiles." Brazil's stock market was closed on Monday and Tuesday for the Christmas holiday. Gol received an additional boost after analysts at BTG Pactual Group upped their recommendation on the shares to "buy" on Wednesday, saying gains from a recent restructuring looked "sustainable" in the near term. Ongoing investor concerns over U.S. budget talks weighed on some of the most widely traded stocks as President Barack Obama cut short his vacation for a final effort to negotiate a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and government spending cuts set to begin next week. "The market is still in a holding pattern, waiting for a fiscal agreement in the United States, and time is running out," said Illan Besen, an equities specialist with ICAP in Rio de Janeiro, who added that volumes would remain low through the week as investors leave for vacations. "You can't take a relaxed break with an event like that still undefined, though." Shares of oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, fell 3.04 percent while state-controlled lender Banco do Brasil SA shares retreated 0.79 percent. Mexico's IPC index fell 0.09 percent to 43,495.74, as shares of bottler Femsa lost 0.61 percent, dragging the index down. In Chile, airline LATAM drove gains, rising 1.31 percent. Latin America's key stock indexes at 0057 GMT: Stock indexes % Latest change MSCI LatAm 3,791.46 0.06 Brazil Bovespa 60,959.79 -0.08 Mexico IPC 43,495.74 -0.09 Chile IPSA 4,301.00 0.19 Chile IGPA 21,040.16 0.18 Argentina MerVal 2,827.96 1.49 Colombia IGBC 14,588.61 -0.02 Peru IGRA 20,354.40 0.23 Venezuela IBC 465,396.13 0
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