* Brazil tax authority fines MMX, Natura
* Energy rationing fears push electric utilities lower
* Brazil Bovespa falls 1.3 pct, Mexico IPC down 0.12 pct
By Danielle Assalve
SAO PAULO/MEXICO CITY, Jan 8 Latin American
stocks fell on Tuesday as profit-taking in Mexico combined with
continued worries over energy rationing in Brazil, which dragged
down domestic shares of electric utilities.
Adding to Brazil's woes, potential tax fines weighed on
shares of miner MMX and cosmetics firm Natura
, with investors wary as earnings season arrives.
"If corporate results follow the growth of the economy in
Brazil and the world, it is hard to imagine that we will have
very good balance sheets ahead," said Ariovaldo Santos, equities
manager at H.Commcor brokerage in Sao Paulo.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index fell for the
third straight session, losing 1.3 percent to 61,127.84.
Shares of mining firm MMX Mineração e Metalicos SA
, controlled by billionaire Eike Batista, fell 3.60
percent after the company said on Tuesday that it faces a
potential fine of 3.758 billion reais ($1.857 billion) for
overdue income taxes.
An index of electric utility shares continued to
slide, losing 2.83 percent, over concerns that low water levels
in reservoirs could lead to energy rationing.
President Dilma Rousseff cut short her vacation on Tuesday
in order to return and deal with a crisis that threatens to
undermine Brazil's fragile economic recovery.
She is trying to revive an economy that likely grew less than 1
percent last year, while also keeping a lid on inflation now
running above 5.7 percent.
Despite Energy Minister Edison Lobao saying late on Monday
that he saw no chance of energy rationing in Brazil this year,
shares of utilities such as Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA
and Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais
fell 9.35 percent and 1.88 percent, respectively, on Tuesday.
Shares of Brazil's No. 1 cosmetics maker, Natura Cosmeticos
SA, fell 4.65 percent after the company said it
received two notices from Brazil's tax watchdog late on Monday
challenging tax practices at the firm.
The company is unlikely to provision for the potential tax
payment and may only take charges related to lawyers' fees,
Mexico's IPC index was down slightly at 44,571.20
points as mining giant Grupo Mexico lost 2.09
Chile's IPSA index rose 0.17 percent to 4,405.94.