EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks choppy on concerns about rates
* Central bank signals rate hike may not be imminent * America Movil rebounds after three-day slide * Brazil Bovespa loses 0.18 pct, Mexico IPC up 0.16 pct By Danielle Assalve SAO PAULO, March 14 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks slipped on Thursday even as Wall Street rose again to record highs, as investors sought clues in the central bank's most recent policy minutes about whether it was likely to hike interest rates soon from current record lows. Mexico's IPC index snapped a three-day slide following encouraging economic data in the United States and a reverse of fortunes for Carlos Slim's beleaguered telecoms giant America Movil, while Chile's IPSA index dropped for the fourth straight day. Brazil's central bank signaled it would remain cautious over its next policy steps but did not offer a clear indication about whether it would hike interest rates at its next monetary committee meeting. Higher rates tend to lead investors away from stocks towards fixed-income assets. Wall Street continued its rally, taking the Dow Jones industrial average higher for its 10th straight day, with the benchmark index ending at another record high as data showed the U.S. labor market's recovery was improving. But Brazil's Bovespa dipped 0.18 percent to 57,281.02 points, slipping into the red for the third straight session. "It is undeniable that Brazil has lost its luster," said Paulo Veiga, research director at Mercatto Resource Management in Rio de Janeiro, saying government interventions in the private sector and uncertainty over the outlook for the economy have investors leery of the local market. "In a country that was under the spotlight two years ago, we are today in a very bad position compared to other emerging markets." Homebuilder MRV Engenharia dropped 6.33 percent, contributing most to the index's declines, while Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, Brazil's largest non-government bank, was off 1.52 percent. Banks usually benefit from higher interest rates because they gain more from holding interest-rate-linked government debt and face less government pressure to reduce lending spreads. Homebuilders tend to suffer when rates rise, making mortgage loans more expensive. Analysts said the fact that both sectors performed poorly on Thursday could mean the market remained undecided on the outlook for monetary policy in the near term. Shares of OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA, the oil company controlled by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, gained 0.84 percent after the stock closed at a record low on Wednesday. Mexico's IPC index rose 0.16 percent to 43,348.52. Shares were boosted by better-than-expected unemployment claims and retail sales data in the United States, which suggested the economy of Mexico's top trading partner is expanding more rapidly. Shares of telecommunications firm America Movil, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, contributed most to the index's rise, adding 2.45 percent. The shares had tumbled 13 percent over the previous three sessions after Mexico's government proposed reforms on Monday that would overhaul the sector in a bid to spark competition. Chile's IPSA index fell 0.68 percent to 4,449.78 as shares of LATAM Airlines Group dropped 1.39 percent. Latin America's key stock indexes at 2117 GMT: Stock indexes % change Latest MSCI LatAm 3,861.97 -0.1 Brazil Bovespa 57,281.02 -0.18 Mexico IPC 43,348.52 0.16 Chile IPSA 4,449.78 -0.68 Chile IGPA 21,807.82 -0.55 Argentina MerVal 3,499.25 1.09 Colombia IGBC 14,289.63 -0.54 Peru IGRA 19,796.84 0 Venezuela IBC 629,322.13 -0.62
DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.