* Largest independent money manager to grow in Brazil
* Sees Bovespa stock index at 77,000 by end of Q1
(Recasts with comments, background, adds byline)
By Elzio Barreto
SAO PAULO, Feb 3 BlackRock (BLK.N), the world's
largest independent money manager, sees Brazil's benchmark
Bovespa index .BVSP rising to 77,000 by the end of the first
quarter on rising demand for exchange-traded funds, a top
executive said on Wednesday.
The index, which surged more than 80 percent last year,
making it the best-performing stock index in the world, has
been sliding in recent weeks as risk aversion gained traction
among global investors.
It rose 0.9 percent to 67,163.20 on Tuesday.
New York-based BlackRock plans to launch three ETFs focused
on Brazil by the end of February, focusing on consumer retail
stocks, real estate companies and the broad stock market, said
Saulo Mendes de Almeida, BlackRock's director of sales and
capital markets in the country.
The company, which has about $3.3 trillion in assets under
management, may seek to expand in Brazil through a partnership
with a local retail bank, Almeida said without elaborating.
BlackRock's Brazil plans underscore a trend sought by large
global players in the securities industry as the stock market
in Latin America's largest country beat rivals during a very
challenging 2009. The Bovespa index more than doubled in U.S.-
dollar terms last year, attracting billions of dollars of
foreign investor money.
"The ETF market in Brazil is still very incipient. We are
making a bet on an increase of more individual investors in the
market," Almeida said at an event in Sao Paulo.
He also sees growth coming from demand by pension funds
looking to boost returns and diversify investments. Currently
the benchmark interest rate, known as Selic, is at a record-low
8.75 percent, which has sparked a search for higher returns
among investment funds, banks and independent money managers.
BlackRock slipped 0.3 percent to close at $216 on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Elzio Barreto; Writing by Guillermo
Parra-Bernal; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)