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BRASILIA, April 24 Brazilian stocks rallied to
their highest close in more than six months on Friday, as
optimism about the world's largest economy boosted appetite for
riskier assets and lifted the national currency.
Sao Paulo's main stock index, the Bovespa .BVSP rose 2.12
percent to 46,771.79 points -- its highest close since early
October 2008. The index has gained nearly 25 percent so far
Wall Street stocks gained on Friday as better-than-expected
results from companies including American Express and Ford
Motor Co provided some relief to investors following months of
negative economic news out of the world's largest economy.
"Despite still very bad economic data, company (results)
are helping stock prices," said Andre Querne at a wealth
management firm in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil's national currency, the real BRBY, strengthened
1.26 percent to 2.191 reais per dollar as the greenback fell
against a basket of currencies.
At the local stock exchange, financial firms were broadly
higher. BM&F Bovespa (BVMF3.SA), which operates Brazil's
stocks, derivatives and commodity exchanges, jumped 4.6 percent
to 9.39 reais. Itau ITAU4.SA gained 2.5 percent to 28.59
reais while Banco Bradesco (BBDC4.SA) added 1.2 percent to
Commodity shares also rose on the back of higher energy and
copper prices. Vale (VALE5.SA) gained 1.6 percent to 30.55
percent as copper prices jumped 3.94 percent. State-run
Petrobras (PETR4.SA) edged up 0.14 percent to 29.31 reais as
oil prices jumped nearly 4 percent.
Commodity shares tend to gain on good news about the world
economy, as faster-moving economies tend to consume more oil
Real estate and retail companies also rallied a day after
data showed credit conditions were normalizing somewhat.
Central bank data on Thursday showed bank lending in Brazil
surged 26.1 percent in March, the first month-on-month rise
Real estate developer Gafisa (GFSA3.SA) jumped 11.8 percent
to 17.20 reais, while Rossi Residential (RSID3.SA) rallied
15.66 percent to 6.35 reais. Real estate and construction
stocks have also recently benefited from the prospect of higher
demand after the government announced a $15 billion housing
plan in March.
Among retailers, Lojas Americanas (LAME4.SA) gained 5.4
percent to 8.80 reais and Lojas Renner (LREN3.SA) rose 6.8
percent to 18.80 reais.
The gains came despite data showing unemployment in Brazil
jumped to its highest level since September 2007 as companies
laid off workers amid a sharp slowdown in Latin America's
Interest rate futures <0#DIJ:> traded broadly higher as
separate data showed inflation in Brazil quickened in the month
to mid-April as prices of cooking gas, cigarettes and
housekeeping services surged.
Brazil's central bank is widely expected to cut interest
rates next week by at least 100 basis points to a new record
low of 10.25 percent. For full story, see [ID:nSPG000269]