* Investors optimistic over U.S. fiscal deal * Brazil Bovespa rises 2.32 pct, Mexico IPC up 0.42 pct By Asher Levine and Danielle Assalve SAO PAULO/MEXICO CITY, Nov 29 Latin American stocks gained on Thursday as optimism U.S. political leaders may avert a fiscal crisis fed demand for riskier assets, driving Brazilian stocks to their highest one-day gain since mid-September. Brazilian shares rose despite U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner saying on Thursday that no substantive advances had been made in tackling the so-called "fiscal cliff". "The focus has moved to the United States, pulling attention away from Europe and the problems there," said Bruno Piagentini, an analyst at the Coinvalores brokerage in Sao Paulo. "But we believe they'll be able to avoid the fiscal cliff, which in some ways represents a very big risk to the Republicans." Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index added 2.32 percent to 57,852.53, rising for a second consecutive session, helping to scale back recent losses that had pushed the index to levels not seen since late July. A failure to avoid tax hikes and spending cuts associated with the fiscal cliff could send the U.S. economy into recession and drive investors away from higher-risk assets. Shares in LX, Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista's logistics company, helped drive the index upwards, gaining nearly 30 percent after it announced on Wednesday that it had signed a 30-year renewable contract with GE to install an industrial unit at the Acu port in Rio de Janeiro. "There are at least 30 years of guaranteed revenue for LLX, thanks to a contract with one of the largest companies in the world, and it pleased the market," said Ariovaldo Santos, a stock trading manager at brokerage H.Commcor in Sao Paulo. Widely traded stocks, whose performance tend to track global risk appetite, gained, with preferred shares of state-controlled oil producer Petrobras up 2.68 percent, while iron-ore mining giant Vale saw its shares rise 3.92 percent. Steel-maker CSN rose 9.61 percent after Santander analysts shifted the rating on the company to "buy." "The CSN model offers some advantages, in terms of diversification and its mining operations, which are among the best for steelmakers," said Piagentini. Brazil's largest maker of flat steel products, Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais SA, rose 7.42 percent. Electric utilities fell, with Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, known as Eletrobras, down 7.46 percent after a four-day rally. Investors are still looking for a stable price for the stock after concerns over the impact of a government concession-renewal plan sent shares tumbling this quarter. The MSCI Latin American stock index added 1.11 percent to 3,594.39, its biggest gain in more than a week. The index rose nearly 3 percent last week after five consecutive sessions of gains. Chile's IPSA index notched its biggest gain since mid-October, rising 0.6 percent to 4,137.55, as shares of industrial conglomerate Empresas Copec added 1.94 percent. Mexico's IPC index rose for the second straight session, with shares of telecommunications firm America Movil , controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, up 0.65 percent. Latin America's key stock indexes at 2236 GMT: Stock indexes % change Latest MSCI LatAm 3,594.39 1.11 Brazil Bovespa 57,852.53 2.32 Mexico IPC 42,090.69 0.42 Chile IPSA 4,137.55 0.6 Chile IGPA 20,325.45 0.45 Argentina MerVal 2,408.17 3.46 Colombia IGBC 14,144.00 0.78 Peru IGRA 20,165.15 0.46 Venezuela IBC 408,271.50 1.06
South Africa anti-graft chief open to talks on central bank -report
JOHANNESBURG, June 24 The head of South Africa's anti-graft watchdog is open to talks on her recommendation to change the central bank's mandate, a proposal that has drawn sharp criticism from parliament, the ruling party and investors, a local news agency said on Saturday.