* Progress in U.S. budget talks eases concerns
* Bovespa little changed, Mexico's IPC up 0.67 pct
By Michael O'Boyle
SAO PAULO, Dec 17 Mexican stocks closed at a
record high on Monday, boosted by optimism that U.S. lawmakers
will avert a stand-off over the country's budget that could
throw the world's No. 1 economy into recession.
Mexico's IPC index added 0.67 percent to 43,338.33,
its highest close ever.
Stocks were lifted by signs of flexibility in budget talks
between Republican Party leaders and President Barack Obama on
Sunday. Both sides need to reach an agreement to avert automatic
tax hikes and spending cuts that would kick in next year.
Mexico sends nearly 80 percent of its exports to its
northern neighbor and economists have warned that the U.S.
economy could be dragged into recession if lawmakers do not
stave off the so-called "fiscal cliff".
Top U.S. cement supplier Cemex rose more than
4.69 percent while retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico
added 2.25 percent.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index traded little
changed, edging down 0.06 percent to 59,566.52. The index hit
resistance just below 60,000 last week, its highest level since
"The discussions in the U.S. are advancing, but it's
something I don't see getting solved as quickly as the market
would like, and that is leaving investors cautious," said Newton
Rosa, chief economist with asset management firm SulAmerica in
Preferred shares of state-controlled oil company Petroleo
Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, fell 1.43 percent
as profit-takers took advantage of the stock's 3 percent gain in
the previous session, its biggest daily rise in three months.
Both the Bovespa and the IPC are up more than 3 percent this
"A calming in Europe's debt crisis and the retaking of
growth in the United States reinforces the trend for a gain in
the Bovespa in December," said Bruno Piagentini, an analyst with
brokerage Coinvalores in Sao Paulo.
A technical indicator of Mexico's IPC known as the relative
strength index hit "overbought" territory however, indicating
stocks may be due to fall in coming sessions.
Chile's IPSA index rose 0.4 percent as industrial
conglomerate Copec SA rose 0.97 percent.
Latin America's key stock indexes at 2200 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % year-to
Latest change date %
MSCI LatAm 3,736.74 -0.06 3.73
Brazil Bovespa 59,566.52 -0.06 4.96
Mexico IPC 43,338.33 0.67 16.89
Chile IPSA 4,279.93 0.4 2.45
Chile IGPA 20,927.10 0.35 3.96
Argentina MerVal 2,759.19 2.3 12.04
Colombia IGBC 14,592.01 0.39 15.21
Peru IGRA 20,163.94 0.08 3.55
Venezuela IBC 476,415.25 0.46 307.07