By Walter Brandimarte
RIO DE JANEIRO, April 30 Brazilian stocks mostly
fell on Wednesday after a government decision to raise taxes on
beer and sodas dragged down shares of beverage maker Ambev
by more than 5 percent.
A drop in mining shares also weighed on Brazilian and
Mexican equity markets after both Vale SA and Grupo
Mexico reported lower quarterly earnings.
Trading in Latin American stock and currency markets was
generally slower before Thursday's Labor Day holiday, which will
shut down bourses across the region.
MSCI's benchmark stock index for Latin America
lost 0.5 percent as Brazil's Bovespa index
slid 0.7 percent.
Ambev was the biggest weight on the Bovespa index, with its
shares poised to close at their lowest level in at least six
weeks. Ambev, Latin America's largest brewer, became the latest
victim of a government attempt to meet its fiscal savings goal
by raising taxes on specific products - this time on beverages.
Vale's shares fell about 1.5 percent after the company said
its first-quarter profit shrank by nearly a fifth from a year
earlier as prices of iron ore, its main product, fell sharply.
Although Vale's results were mostly in line with market
expectations, some analysts were disappointed at the price the
company received for iron ore sold during the quarter in
comparison to spot prices.
Vale's shares will likely be under pressure during the next
few months because of the "vision that iron ore prices will
remain on a declining trend as we approach 2015," analysts with
Brazil's BTG bank said.
In Mexico, the IPC stock index was little changed as
a 2.5 percent gain in shares of cement maker Cemex
was offset by a 1.4 percent decline in shares of Grupo Mexico.
Cemex's first-quarter profit beat analysts' forecasts,
helped by higher U.S. demand for cement. Grupo Mexico reported a
35 percent drop in profits.
In currency markets, the Brazilian real was
little changed at 2.2315 per dollar. It erased early losses
after the Federal Reserve sounded upbeat about prospects for the
U.S. economy, supporting global appetite for risk.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1935 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % YTD %
Latest change change
MSCI Emerging 995.35 -0.46 -0.28
MSCI LatAm 3249.54 -0.54 2.08
Brazil Bovespa 51503.09 -0.65 -0.01
Mexico IPC 40715.28 0.03 -4.71
Chile IPSA 3898.96 1.35 5.40
Chile IGPA 19135.01 1.08 4.98
Argentina MerVal 6755.82 -1.05 25.32
Colombia IGBC 13554.77 0.4 3.70
Peru IGRA 15499.53 1.66 -1.61
Venezuela IBC 2339.8 0.25 -14.50
Currencies daily % YTD %
Brazil real 2.2315 0.05 5.62
Mexico peso 13.0679 0.28 -0.29
Chile peso 564.7 -0.60 -6.84
Colombia peso 1933 0.00 -0.05
Peru sol 2.808 0.00 -0.53
Argentina peso 8.0000 0.03 -18.84
Argentina peso 10.52 0.48 -4.94
(Additional reporting by Priscila Jordao in Sao Paulo; Editing
by Leslie Adler)