EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks plunge to 3-month low after GDP data

Tue Dec 3, 2013 6:30pm EST

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* Brazil Bovespa falls 1.75 pct, Mexico IPC down 0.62 pct

MEXICO CITY Dec 3 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks sank on Tuesday to a more than three-month low after data showed Latin America's largest economy contracted in the third quarter for the first time since 2009.

The contraction in the July to September period was more than expected, the government statistics office said, as plunging investment underscored crumbling confidence.

Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index shed 1.75 percent to 50,348.89, its weakest close since Aug. 30.

"The (GDP) results caused the index to worsen a bit today, but the fact of the matter is that the market has already priced in this poor internal (economic) scenario," said João Pedro Brugger, an analyst with Leme Investimentos in Florianopolis, Brazil.

Shares of Vale, fell 1.32 percent, contributing most to the index's declines. Goldman Sachs Group analysts trimmed the 12-month price target on U.S.-traded shares of the mining giant in a client note on Tuesday.

Analysts cited the cost of a tax settlement with the Brazilian government in their assessment.

Preferred shares of state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobra, gained 0.86 percent, adding most to the index.

The stock posted its worst one-day loss in nearly five years in the previous session, losing 9.2 percent following the company's decision on Friday not to implement a transparent fuel pricing model that the market had widely expected it to adopt.

Petrobras imports fuel to meet domestic demand and sells it at below-market prices as part of government efforts to control inflation, leading to hefty losses in its refining division.

Part of Tuesday's rebound in the stock was due to bargain-hunting among foreign investors, who tend to be major holders of the shares due to their relatively high liquidity in Brazil's stock market, said Arivaldo Santos, a trader with H.Commcor in Sao Paulo.

Mexico's IPC index fell for the second straight session, losing 0.62 percent to 41,876.86.

Shares of Grupo Televisa dropped 2.69 percent, contributing most to the index's decline, while miner Grupo Mexico lost 1.76 percent.

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