* Brazil's Vale gains on China growth outlook
* Electric utilities continue to whipsaw on gov't measures
* Brazil Bovespa flat, Mexico IPC gains 0.29 pct
By Asher Levine and Danielle Assalve
SAO PAULO, Dec 5 Brazilian stocks were flat on
Wednesday as a drop in electricity utilities offset gains by
home builders and commodities exporters, while stock markets in
Mexico and Chile both edged higher.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index swung widely,
settling nearly flat at 57,564.54 points.
Shares of heavily-weighted iron-ore exporter Vale
rose 0.8 percent, supporting the index, after China's new
leader, Xi Jinping, said his government aimed to fine-tune
economic policies in 2013 to ensure stable economic growth.
China is Brazil's top trading partner and Vale's number one
Shares of electric utilities weighed, however, with
state-controlled Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA,
known as Eletrobras, down 5.7 percent and rival Companhia
Energetica de Minas Gerais SA losing 2 percent.
Analysts said shares in the sector would continue to whipsaw
in coming sessions as investors struggle to arrive at an
equilibrium price after Brazil's government announced changes to
concession renewal terms.
Shares of Marfrig Alimentos SA, Brazil's
second-largest food company, dropped 4.75 percent to 8.62 reais
after the company said late Tuesday that it was offering 1.05
billion reais ($500 million) in new stock, priced at 8 reais per
"When there are offerings like this it puts pressure on the
shares. ... Analysts, though, will be looking to see what they
do with this money and how it is applied," said Rodrigo Falcao,
an analyst with ICAP Corretora in Sao Paulo.
Home-building firms gained for a second day after Brazil's
government announced a series of tax exemptions for the sector
Home-builder Gafisa SA rose 2.8 percent, while
rival Rossi Residencial SA gained 2.1 percent.
Brazil's Bovespa is up a meager 1.5 percent in 2012,
compared with an over 14 percent gain in Mexico's IPC index
and 12 percent gain in the S&P 500 index.
With investors concerned over heavy government intervention
in the private sector and lackluster economic growth, the
Bovespa has struggled to attract enough foreign funds to support
"The more time goes by, the less chance of that happening,"
said Flavio Barros, a manager with Grau Asset Management in Sao
Paulo. "I don't think the Bovespa will escape from these levels
by the end of the year."
Mexico's IPC index rose for the third straight
session, adding 0.42 percent to 42,513.78
Broadcaster Grupo Televisa rose 1.5 percent,
contributing most to the index's gains, while retail giant
Wal-Mart de Mexico added 0.6 percent.
Chile's IPSA index edged 0.1 percent higher as
retailer Falabella gained 0.25 percent.
Chile's economy will likely grow around 5.5 percent this
year, Finance Minister Felipe Larrain said on Wednesday.
Latin America's key stock indexes at 1449 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % YTD %
Latest change change
MSCI LatAm 3,597.84 0.4 -0.52
Brazil Bovespa 57,564.54 0 1.43
Mexico IPC 42,460.54 0.29 14.52
Chile IPSA 4,148.14 0.1 -0.70
Chile IGPA 20,359.09 0.09 1.14
Argentina MerVal 2,484.34 1.03 0.88
Colombia IGBC 14,348.46 0.31 13.29
Peru IGRA 20,250.46 -0.05 3.99
Venezuela IBC 409,852.72 0 250.19