EMERGING MARKETS-Petrobras drives Bovespa higher, Mexico bourse drops

Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:05pm EDT

* Petrobras jumps around 5 pct as earnings beat estimates
    * Shares of BB Seguridade, Smiles debut on Sao Paulo
exchange
    * Cemex drives Mexican bourse lower

    By Walter Brandimarte
    RIO DE JANEIRO, April 29 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks firmed
on Monday as oil firm Petrobras jumped over 5 percent on
better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, but a 2.5 percent
drop in shares of cement maker Cemex weighed on the Mexican
bourse.
    The Brazilian state-controlled oil company, formally known
as Petroleo Brasileiro SA, on Friday announced first-quarter
earnings that were 17 percent below those of same period a year
ago, but still managed to beat analysts' expectations.
 
    Some analysts saw in the first quarter an "inflection point"
in Petrobras's earnings performance, which has been plagued in
the past several quarters by falling oil output and fuel
subsidies.
    "We believe the programs to cut costs and increase
productivity, as well as record refinery production, may have a
positive impact in the next quarterly results," BB
Investimentos' analysts Andrea Aznar and Carolina Felsch wrote
in a research note.
    Petrobras preferred shares gained 5.4 percent,
while ordinary stocks rose 6.7 percent, contributing
the most lift the benchmark Bovespa index by 1.5
percent.
    Shares of frequent-flyer program operator Smiles 
jumped over 10 percent at its debut on the Sao Paulo exchange
after an initial public offering which yielded 560 million reais
to its controller Gol airline. 
    Shares of BB Seguridade, on the other hand, began
trading at the BM&FBovespa with losses of about 2 percent. The
insurance unit of state-controlled Banco do Brasil 
concluded last week the world's largest IPO in seven months.
    Mexico's benchmark IPC index dropped 0.3 percent, on
track to close at its lowest level in nearly five months.
Weighing the most on the index were shares of cement maker Cemex
, which slid about 2.5 percent as investors continued
to digest an increase in the company's first-quarter loss.
 
    On Friday, when Cemex announced its results, shares closed 
higher as the company's executives reassured analysts that they
were raising cement prices in many markets and that they were
upbeat on infrastructure and housing projects in Mexico.
    Other first-quarter earnings reports also left investors not
too excited about the Mexican market.
    "As we close the earnings season, we see little positive
news. Instead, there were a series of reports that left a lot to
be desired," Carlos Hermosillo, an analyst with Grupo Financiero
Banorte, wrote in a research note.

    Latin America's key stock indexes at 1745 GMT:
    
 Stock indexes                             Daily  YTD pct
                                Latest       pct   change
                                          change  
 MSCI LatAm                    3,723.43     0.68    -2.62
                                                  
 Brazil Bovespa               55,059.61     1.49    -9.67
                                                  
 Mexico IPC                   41,773.45    -0.29    -4.42
                                                  
 Chile IPSA                    4,259.54    -0.51    -0.97
                                                  
 Chile IGPA                   20,949.47    -0.44    -0.57
                                                  
 Argentina MerVal              3,812.36     2.09    33.57
                                                  
 Colombia IGBC                13,425.58    -0.02    -8.77
                                                  
 Peru IGRA                    17,844.70     0.31   -13.50
                                                  
 Venezuela IBC               653,757.50     0.36    38.67
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