* Options on stocks expire on Brazil's Bovespa index
* Volume low with U.S. markets closed for national holiday
* Brazil Bovespa, Mexico IPC little changed
By Asher Levine
SAO PAULO, Jan 21 Latin American stocks were
virtually unchanged on Monday with options on Brazilian shares
set to expire and investors cautious over fourth-quarter
Traders said volume was limited due to a national holiday in
the United States.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index remained near
Friday's close, edging 0.06 percent lower to 61,921.93.
Shares of state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro
SA, known as Petrobras, fell 1.28 percent,
contributing most to the index's losses, while rival OGX
Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA, controlled by
Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, rose 1 percent.
"It's likely you won't see much of a swing in major shares
today, despite the expiration of options," said Carlos
Nielebock, a broker with ICAP Corretora in Sao Paulo, who said
the lack of flows due to the U.S. holiday would keep volatility
muted. "We've been at this level for a week and I don't see much
pressure one way or the other."
Preferred shares of telecommunications firm Grupo Oi SA
fell over 4 percent after a local news magazine
reported on Saturday that Chief Executive Officer Francisco
Valim could be on his way out due to conflicts with the
company's top shareholders.
A press representative for Oi declined to comment.
Shares of electric utility AES Eletropaulo gained
over 4 percent. The company said a Brazilian court approved the
company's application to appeal a judgement requiring it to pay
Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, known as
Eletrobras, 1.3 billion reais ($636.6 million) for an
Brazil's Bovespa index has hovered near 62,000 points for a
week as investors, cautious over upcoming fourth-quarter
earnings results, hold off on taking new positions.
"The expectation is that results will improve a bit from the
third quarter but worsen from the same period last year," said
Marcello Paixao, a partner with Principia Capital Management in
Sao Paulo. "The Bovespa will remain around these levels for some
time, since the companies with the best performance are already
expensive and the outlook for other sectors is still cloudy."
Mexico's IPC index remained little changed at
45,232.57 points as a 0.7 percent loss by shares of retail giant
Wal-Mart de Mexico offset a 2 percent gain by
bottling group Coca-Cola FEMSA SAB De CV.
Shares of telecommunications firm America Movil
fell 0.2 percent after the company said on Monday that it signed
a contract to acquire a unit of entertainment firm CIE
Chile's IPSA index fell for the first session in
four, losing 0.14 percent to 4,522.03 as shares of LATAM
Airlines Group fell 1 percent while regional energy
group Enersis slipped 0.8 percent.
Latin America's key stock indexes at 1436 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % YTD %
Latest change change
MSCI LatAm 3,932.51 -0.11 3.66
Brazil Bovespa 61,921.93 -0.06 1.59
Mexico IPC 45,232.57 0.04 3.49
Chile IPSA 4,522.03 -0.14 5.13
Chile IGPA 22,007.03 -0.11 4.45
Argentina MerVal 3,211.43 0.44 12.51
Colombia IGBC 14,783.85 -0.07 0.46
Peru IGRA 21,718.07 0.24 5.28
Venezuela IBC 485,661.34 0 3.02