* 'Fiscal cliff' positive effect continues
* Petrobras supports Brazil's Bovespa 1.22 pct rise
* Mexico IPC up 0.15 pct, closes at record high
By Asher Levine and Danielle Assalve
SAO PAULO/MEXICO CITY, Jan 3 Latin American
stocks gained on Thursday, with Brazil's Bovespa stock index
reaching its highest levels in nine months as investor
confidence remained strong after the U.S. fiscal cliff
Shares of state-controlled oil firm Petrobras
drove gains in the benchmark Bovespa, while
profit-taking dampened gains on Mexico's IPC index.
Nonetheless, the IPC once again closed at a record high of
Stocks soared on Wednesday following an agreement by U.S.
lawmakers to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax
hikes and spending cuts that threatened to throw the U.S.
economy into recession.
"After a day of euphoria like yesterday, investors are
stopping to think," said Aloisio Villeth Lemos, an analyst with
Agora Corretora in Rio de Janeiro. "There are still things that
need to be straightened out in the U.S."
While the fiscal cliff was avoided, analysts said investors
will remain cautious over the outlook for the world's largest
economy due to upcoming negotiations on debt limits and spending
Despite the caution, Brazil's Bovespa continued the upward
march it began last month. Since then, the index has added more
than 10 percent. On Thursday it closed up 1.22 percent at
"We started the year with investors being slightly more
optimistic," said Pedro Galdi, chief strategist at SLW brokerage
in Sao Paulo. "January last year was very good and all
indications are that this year will start the same."
A technical indicator known as the relative strength index
remained in "overbought" territory for a second straight day,
however, indicating any rally in the Bovespa may be short-lived.
Petrobras shares led the Bovespa, closing up 3.61 percent.
The company said on Thursday that it declared two offshore oil
prospects with an estimated 351 million barrels of oil and gas
to be commercially viable, opening the door to new output.
Mexico's IPC index posted modest gains, adding 0.15
percent to 44,370.64, a day after it recorded its biggest daily
jump in over six months.
Lender Grupo Financiero Banorte fell 1.61
percent, contributing most to the index's losses, while
telecommunications firm America Movil, controlled by
billionaire Carlos Slim, rose 1.01 percent.
Chile's IPSA index climbed 0.18 percent to 4,356.79.
Latin America's key stock indexes at 2129 GMT:
Stock indexes % change
MSCI LatAm 3,918.44 0.69
Brazil Bovespa 63,312.46 1.22
Mexico IPC 44,370.64 0.15
Chile IPSA 4,356.79 0.18
Chile IGPA 21,287.30 0.16
Argentina MerVal 2,975.24 0.75
Colombia IGBC 14,821.98 0.72
Peru IGRA 21,120.35 0.5
Venezuela IBC 471,444.53 0