EMERGING MARKETS-Latin American stocks flat with low volume

Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:17pm EST

* 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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