* Obama calms investor fears with "cliff" comments * Electric utilities continue to whipsaw on gov't measures * Brazil Bovespa up 0.2 pct, Mexico IPC gains 0.19 pct By Danielle Assalve and Gabriel Stargardter SAO PAULO/MEXICO CITY Dec 5 Latin American stocks ended slightly higher on Wednesday after U.S. President Barack Obama said a resolution to the partisan struggle over the so-called fiscal cliff may be on the horizon. After wild swings earlier in the day, Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index settled up 0.2 percent at 57,678.62 points. Both Mexico's IPC and Chile's IPSA indexes ended the day with moderate gains. Speaking with a group of chief executives, Obama posted a blunt warning to Republican opposition, saying that he would not engage in a debt ceiling standoff. But he also offered a glimmer of hope, predicting a "fiscal cliff" deal could be reached in a week if Republicans played ball on taxes. If U.S. politicians fail to reach a budget deal, it could trigger up to $600 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes that could push the United States back into recession. Latin American investors took kindly to Obama's words. The MSCI index of Latin American stocks was up 0.52 percent at 3,602.07. "If they are really able to reach an agreement, it will open up space for a recovery in global markets and the Brazilian stock exchange will follow that movement," said Clodoir Vieira, chief economist at brokerage Souza Barros. Shares of Brazil's heavily-weighted iron-ore exporter Vale rose 1.75 percent, supporting the index, after China's new leader, Xi Jinping, said his government aimed to gear economic policies in 2013 towards ensuring stable economic growth. China is Brazil's top trading partner and Vale's number one customer. Shares of electric utilities weighed, however, with state-controlled Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, known as Eletrobras, down 3.17 percent and rival Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais SA losing 3.63 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. Vieira said that the Brazilian government's growing involvement in the economy, and doubts about Brazil's long-term growth, would continue to dent the Bovespa's performance. The index has struggled to attract enough foreign funds to support stronger gains. The Bovespa has gained 1.6 percent since the beginning of the year, compared with the IPC's 14.4 percent rise. Chile's IPSA, meanwhile, has fallen 0.4 percent. The S&P 500 index rose 12 percent over the same period. "Until we have new money coming into the stock market, the index will not rise. And this should only happen when investors feel confident again in Brazil," Vieira said. Home-building firms gained for a second day after Brazil's government announced a series of tax exemptions for the sector on Tuesday. Home-builder Gafisa SA rose 3.98 percent, while rival Rossi Residencial SA gained 1.67 percent. Mexico's IPC index rose for the third straight session, adding 0.19 percent to 42,416.29. Shares in homebuilder Homex fell 9.87 percent one day after the company forecast a decline of between 23 and 24 percent in its 2013 consolidated revenue. "Although is not so heavily weighted in the IPC, this is an important fall...particularly given that in the last few weeks it had been rallying," said Mario Copca, an analyst at CI Casa de Bolsa brokerage in Mexico City. Chile's IPSA index edged up 0.13 percent to 4149.5. 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 2254 GMT: Stock indexes daily % year-to- Latest change ate % change MSCI LatAm 3,602.07 0.52 -0.01 Brazil Bovespa 57,678.62 0.2 1.63 Mexico IPC 42,416.29 0.19 14.40 Chile IPSA 4,149.50 0.13 -0.67 Chile IGPA 20,366.31 0.12 1.17 Argentina MerVal 2,470.04 0.45 0.30 Colombia IGBC 14,395.64 0.64 13.66 Peru IGRA 20,199.39 -0.3 3.73 Venezuela IBC 409,830.28 -0.01 250.17
Zalando ponders opening stores in major cities -Manager Magazin
BERLIN, April 29 Online fashion retailer Zalando is pondering opening stores in major cities such as London, Paris or Berlin, the company's co-chief executive told Germany's Manager Magazin.