EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks down on profit-taking; Mexico steady

Fri Mar 8, 2013 2:35pm EST

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BRASILIA, March 8 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks fell on
Friday as investors took profits following two days of strong
gains led mostly by commodity companies, while Mexican shares
were little changed after the central bank surprised economists
with an interest rate cut. 
    Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index fell about
0.7 percent, trimming the nearly 5 percent gains it accumulated
over the past two days.  
    Bets that Brazilian policymakers will tighten monetary
policy also weighed on local stocks, eclipsing encouraging jobs
data in the United States. Such expectation grew after
government data showed inflation jumped more than expected in
February.  
    Shares of OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA and
state-led oil firm Petrobras dropped 6.7 percent and
3.1 percent, respectively, as investors pocketed part of their
recent gains. 
    OGX jumped more than 16 percent on Thursday after owner Eike
Batista, until recently Brazil's richest man, inked a deal with
investment bank BTG Pactual for credit and long-term financing.
    Petrobras' shares had risen 7 percent between Wednesday and
Thursday after the company announced an increase in wholesale
diesel prices.
    In Mexico, the IPC index edged higher 0.1 percent
after the central bank cut interest rates by half a percentage
point to 4.0 percent, improving the outlook for the Mexican
economy. 
    Gains were modest, however, as investors were unwilling to
further increase bets on Mexican equities despite a stock rally
in the United States, Mexico's main trading partner.
    "The Mexican market is certainly a little disconnected from
the U.S. market today, but we feel this is a result of stock
valuations, which are above their fair price," said Manuel Lasa,
a director with Interacciones brokerage.
    In Chile, the benchmark IPSA index rose 0.6 percent,
while the broader IGPA index gained 0.4 percent. 
         
    Latin America's key stock indexes at 1912 GMT: 
    
 Stock indexes                        Daily  YTD pct
                                        pct   change
                         Latest      change  
 MSCI LatAm               3,915.98      0.6      2.5
                                             
 Brazil Bovespa          58,434.46     -0.7    -4.13
                                             
 Mexico IPC              44,036.55     0.15     0.76
                                             
 Chile IPSA               4,520.70     0.56     5.10
                                             
 Chile IGPA              22,085.34     0.43     4.82
                                             
 Argentina MerVal         3,313.30    -0.44    16.08
                                             
 Colombia IGBC           14,401.78    -0.45    -2.13
                                             
 Peru IGRA               20,316.29    -0.24    -1.52
                                             
 Venezuela IBC           617,816.5    -0.11    31.05
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