MEXICO CITY Jan 15 Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index gained on Wednesday as shares of state-run oil company Petrobras jumped on speculation of a possible fuel price hike later this year.
Brazil's Bovespa index rose 0.81 percent to close at 50,105.37 points.
Preferred shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the Brazilian oil company is formally known, gained 2.17 percent after newspaper Folha de S.Paulo said in its online edition that the government and the company's board are considering increasing fuel prices in June or even in March.
Folha said its reporting was based on sources at President Dilma Rousseff's economic team. Petrobras has repeatedly declined to comment on its pricing policy.
Traders said the report further boosted shares of Petrobras, which lost nearly 9 percent of its value last year as the government forced the company to sell gasoline and diesel in Brazil under market prices.
In other regional markets, Mexican stocks rose 0.17 percent to 42,511.25, while Chile's IPSA index added just shy of 1 percent to close on 3,650.07.
* Shares of Brazil's state-run electricity utility Eletrobrás slumped 3.72 percent after regulators decided the company needs to return about 2 billion reais ($851 million) to a sector fund it manages.
* Brazil's Embraer shares climbed 1.06 percent after the world's largest maker of regional aircraft announced it met its 2013 delivery targets after a surge in sales in the fourth quarter.
* In Mexico, shares in telecoms giant America Movil , which is controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, drove gains in the index, adding 1.73 percent.
* Chile's IPSA index rose 0.96 percent, lifted by a 7.94 percent jump in shares of mining and fertilizer firm SQM . The shares got a boost on expectations that Russian potash producer Uralkali, the world's largest, might raise its prices.