EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stock index flat though retailers gain
* Brazil retail sales data far better than expected in July * Brazil exchange announces changes to benchmark index * Brazil Ibovespa little-changed, Mexico IPC down 0.78 pct SAO PAULO, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Brazil's benchmark stock index was little changed on Thursday as strong retail sales data boosted stocks linked to domestic consumption, offsetting a decline in the most widely-traded blue-chips. Mexico's IPC index fell its most in over a week, while Chile's bourse erased the previous session's gains. Data on Thursday showed sales volumes in Brazil rose a seasonally adjusted 1.9 percent in July from June, far exceeding forecasts, led by a boost in supermarket and clothing sales. "(Today's session) is rather lukewarm, but the retail data, which came in above expectations, particularly in the textile and clothing sectors, have boosted some optimism for stocks in the sector," said Gustavo Mendonca, an economist with Saga Capital in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's benchmark Ibovespa stock index was little-changed from Wednesday's close, hovering near 53,526.10 points. Shares of clothing retailer Cia. Hering SA rose 2.8 percent, while rival Lojas Renner SA added 2 percent and health and beauty retailer Natura Cosmeticos SA gained 2.3 percent. Heavily-weighted commodities producers offset gains, however, losing ground following a recent rally in the sector. Preferred shares of state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, fell 1.6 percent. Common shares of mining firm Vale SA dropped 0.6 percent. Brazilian exchange operator BM&F Bovespa SA announced changes to the Ibovespa index late Wednesday, the first since 1968, in an effort to correct recent distortions and better reflect the performance of local shares. Under the new plan, which will be phased in early next year, stocks will be weighted according a formula that takes into account the market capitalization of free-floating shares, as well as the liquidity of those shares. Mexico's IPC index fell for the second straight session, losing 0.8 percent. Shares of telecommunications firm America Movil dropped 1.2 percent, contributing most to the index's losses. Dutch telecoms company KPN said on Thursday it was in talks with America Movil, a major shareholder, over the latter's planned offer to purchase the shares in KPN it does not already own. Chile's IPSA index dropped 0.63 percent after meeting technical resistance near 3,900 points, a level the index has struggled to remain above since early July. Shares of retailer Falabella fell nearly 2 percent, contributing most to the index's decline. Latin America's key stock indexes at 1430 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI LatAm 3,302.16 -0 -13.05 Brazil Bovespa 53,552.00 -0.03 -12.14 Mexico IPC 41,307.51 -0.8 -5.49 Chile IPSA 3,878.69 -0.63 -9.83 Chile IGPA 19,034.61 -0.49 -9.66 Argentina MerVal 4,527.16 0.23 58.61 Colombia IGBC 14,043.87 -0.18 -4.57 Peru IGRA 16,863.80 -0.8 -18.25 Venezuela IBC 1,467,266. 0.48 211.23 0
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