EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks surge as Petrobras jumps 9 pct

Wed Mar 6, 2013 5:16pm EST

* Brazil Bovespa up most in more than 7 months
    * Brazil cenbank likely to leave rates at record low
    * Petrobras rises on announced diesel price rise

    By Danielle Assalve
    SAO PAULO, March 6 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks posted their
biggest gains in more than seven months on Wednesday, driven by
a 9 percent jump in shares of Petrobras after the
state-owned oil giant announced a big increase in the price of
diesel.
    The Bovespa index closed up 3.56 percent at
57,940.14 points, its biggest daily gain since July 27, 2012.
    Petrobras late on Tuesday announced a 5 percent increase in
the price of diesel, Brazil's most-used motor fuel.
    Petrobras Chief Executive Maria das Gracas Foster has said
fuel price increases were needed to stanch refining unit losses
and generate the cash to finance a $237 billion five-year
expansion.
    Preferred shares in Petrobras closed at 18.05
reais, notching their biggest one-day gain since Dec. 8, 2008,
and driving gains in the index. 
    Traders, however, warned the uptick was likely temporary.
    "Just like old times, Petrobras took the whole market up,"
said Ariovaldo Santos, equities manager at H.Commcor brokerage.
"But it is too early to speak of a reversal trend for the
market."
    Brazil's central bank is likely to hold interest rates at an
all-time low later on Wednesday, but investors are looking for
clues the bank may raise borrowing costs later this year to keep
a lid on inflation. 
    In Mexico, the IPC added 0.32 percent, with
homebuilders the day's winners after the government announced a
$1.2 billion fund to support the flagging companies.
    The shares of homebuilders have declined as the large land
holdings outside cities of many of the companies have lost value
due to government policies to stimulate inner-city, high-rise
social housing. 
    Shares of Urbi added 18.52 percent, while Geo
 added 14.09 percent, and Homex rose 13.65
percent. 
    Chile's IPSA index fell 1.10 percent to 4,519.16, as
retailer Cencosud lost 2.57 percent.
    Latin America's key stock indexes at 2148 GMT:
    
 Stock indexes                     Latest         Pct change
                                                            
 MSCI LatAm                          3,878.85           1.85
                                                  
 Brazil Bovespa                     57,940.14           3.56
                                                  
 Mexico IPC                         44,159.65           0.32
                                                  
 Chile IPSA                          4,519.16           -1.1
                                                  
 Chile IGPA                         22,099.14          -0.89
                                                  
 Argentina MerVal                    3,233.53           1.26
                                                  
 Colombia IGBC                      14,537.76          -0.71
                                                  
 Peru IGRA                          20,560.62           0.56
                                                  
 Venezuela IBC                     618,486.75          -0.05
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