* German business confidence rises
* Volumes low due to shortened U.S. trading session
* Brazil Bovespa gains 1.44 pct, Mexico IPC dips 0.06 pct
By Asher Levine and Michael O'Boyle
SAO PAULO/MEXICO CITY, Nov 23 Latin American
stocks traded mixed on Friday as low volumes kept indexes
volatile despite optimism about a Greek debt deal and positive
economic data from Germany.
The MSCI Latin American stock index rose
0.77 percent to 3,591.92 as a technical momentum indicator known
as the MACD neared a "bullish cross," suggesting the index could
gain in coming sessions.
Oil producers' shares drove Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index
to its second straight gain, while Mexico's IPC index
remained mostly flat.
Risk assets got a boost after data on Friday showed business
sentiment among German companies rose in November and Greece's
finance minister said the heavily indebted country was close to
securing a critical aid package.
Still, markets remained volatile, with analysts pointing to
low trading volumes across the region due to a shortened trading
day in the United States following the Thanksgiving holiday.
"The markets are very indecisive," said Álvaro Bandeira, a
partner at Órama Investimentos in Rio de Janeiro. "With the U.S.
holiday, you lose a lot of liquidity ... the market is pushing
everything to next week."
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index whipsawed in
early trading, settling over 1 percent higher by the afternoon.
Shares of OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA,
the oil company controlled by Brazilian billionaire Eike
Batista, rose 1.7 percent, contributing most to the index's
gains, while state-controlled rival Petrobras added
Class B preferred shares of electric utility Centrais
Elétricas Brasileiras SA, known as Eletrobras,
recovered slightly from recent losses, rising 6 percent.
Eletrobras shares plunged in recent sessions on expectation
that a plan for hydro dam concession renewal and related
power-rate cuts will slash revenue, profit and investment for
the years to come. Despite the concerns, Brazil's government has
ruled out injecting fresh capital into the company, a local
newspaper reported on Friday.
Shares of Gol Linhas Aéreas SA, Brazil's
second-largest airline, rose 1.03 percent after the company said
on Friday that it will cut as many as 850 jobs and reduce its
fleet next year as a result of the closure of its Webjet
Brazil's Bovespa has struggled to remain in positive
territory for the year because of investor concerns over heavy
government intervention in private-sector enterprises such as
telecoms, electricity concessions and banks in recent months.
"Investors are not comfortable positioning themselves in the
Bovespa for next year," said Andre Perfeito, chief economist
with Gradual Investimentos in Sao Paulo.
"Government intervention in the economy has created a more
defensive stance among investors that has hurt the equity
market, though the trend has been a bit exaggerated, and next
year we should see a slightly better situation."
Mexico's benchmark IPC stock index dipped 0.06
percent, but still remained near a one-month high after clocking
its best four-day run since June, with a 3.6 percent gain in the
last four days. The index was still on track to post its best
week in about five months.
Mexican stocks got a boost as investors turned more
optimistic about fiscal negotiations in the United States,
Mexico's top trading partner. But stocks could be vulnerable to
doubts once talks between lawmakers start up again next week.
"This is going to be a complicated and drawn-out process,
and this could create uncertainty in the markets," said Arturo
Espinosa, an analyst at Santander in Mexico City.
Shares of billionaire Carlos Slim's America Movil
fell 0.7 percent. The rally in Mexican stocks this week helped
lift America Movil off of a nearly eight-month low.
Shares of plastic pipe maker Mexichem dropped
1.5 percent after the company said on Thursday it was abandoning
plans for a joint venture with national oil company Pemex due to
continued delays by the state-run giant.
Chile's IPSA index edged lower for the fourth
straight session as it headed toward its lowest closing price
since early September.
Shares of regional energy group Enersis rose 1.46
percent after the company said late Thursday that it will hold a
meeting with shareholders of its Chilean private pension fund
to discuss a controversial capital increase.