EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks flat as earnings season approaches

Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:26pm EST

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* Volume low with U.S. markets closed for national holiday
    * Brazil Bovespa, Mexico IPC little changed

    By Asher Levine
    SAO PAULO, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks were
virtually unchanged on Monday as a U.S. national holiday
dampened trading and investors exercised caution over
fourth-quarter earnings results. 
    Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index edged down
0.09 percent to 61,899.71 points.
    The Bovespa has hovered near 62,000 points for a week as
investors hold off on taking new positions ahead of corporate
earnings.
    "The expectation is that results will improve a bit from the
third quarter but worsen from the same period last year," said
Marcello Paixao, a partner with Principia Capital Management in
Sao Paulo. "The Bovespa will remain around these levels for some
time, since the companies with the best performance are already
expensive and the outlook for other sectors is still cloudy."   
    Shares of state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro
SA, known as Petrobras, fell 0.97 percent,
contributing the most to the index's losses, while rival OGX
Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA, controlled by
Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, fell 0.4 percent.
    Preferred shares of telecommunications firm Grupo Oi SA
 fell 5.13 percent after a local news magazine
reported on Saturday that Chief Executive Francisco Valim could
be on his way out due to conflicts with the company's top
shareholders.
    A press representative for Oi declined to comment.
    Shares of electric utility AES Eletropaulo gained
more than 4 percent. The company said a Brazilian court approved
its application to appeal a judgment requiring it to pay
Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, known as
Eletrobras, 1.3 billion reais ($636.6 million) for an
outstanding loan.
    Eletrobras shares ended up 5.48 percent.
    Mexico's IPC index eked out a gain of 0.03 percent to
close at 45,223.85 points.
    Shares of telecommunications firm America Movil 
rose 0.06 percent after the company said on Monday that it
signed a contract to acquire a unit of entertainment firm CIE
. 
    Chile's IPSA index edged down 0.03 percent at
4,527.04 points.

    Latin America's key stock indexes at 2200 GMT:
    
 Stock indexes                                    % change
                              Latest              
                                                          
 MSCI LatAm                          3,930.19        -0.17
                                                  
 Brazil Bovespa                     61,899.71        -0.09
                                                  
 Mexico IPC                         45,223.85         0.03
                                                  
 Chile IPSA                          4,527.04        -0.03
                                                  
 Chile IGPA                         22,032.97         0.01
                                                  
 Argentina MerVal                    3,250.39         1.65
                                                  
 Colombia IGBC                      14,778.36        -0.10
                                                  
 Peru IGRA                          21,747.62         0.37
                                                  
 Venezuela IBC                     484,333.38        -0.27
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A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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