WRAPUP 1-U.S. new home sales rise, median price surges to record high
WASHINGTON, June 23 New U.S. single-family home sales rose in May and the median sales price surged to an all-time high, suggesting the housing market had regained momentum.
* Mexico IPC climbs back near record high * Outflows from Brazil equity funds hit 36 week high * Brazil Bovespa gains 0.99 pct, Mexico IPC up 1.08 pct By Lorena Segura MEXICO CITY, Feb 1 Mexican and Brazilian stocks rose by the most in a month after solid U.S. jobs data and manufacturing surveys in the United States and China boded well for Latin American exports. Mexico's benchmark IPC stock index added 1.08 percent to 45,768.49 points, back near a record high. Data on Friday showed U.S. employment rose modestly in January and that job growth had been stronger than first reported the prior two months, while a separate survey showed factory activity hit a nine-month high in January. "We had some euphoria today with the U.S. jobs data," said Mario Copca and analyst at brokerage CI, who was still skeptical that Mexican stocks could keep climbing past a record high earlier this month. Mexican stocks have risen about 12 percent since November, and high valuations have many analysts convinced that further gains are limited. Still, the appetite of foreign investors has kept surprising local traders. Data from fund tracker EPFR showed Mexico-focused funds have taken in fresh money for 10 straight weeks. Shares of copper miner and railroad operator Grupo Mexico rose 3.33 percent, contributing most to the index's gains, after the company reported a 15 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit late Thursday. Tycoon Carlos Slim's America Movil, Latin America's top mobile phone and pay TV provider, added 1.38 percent while broadcaster Televisa rose 3.1 percent. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index rose for the third session in four, adding 0.99 percent to 60,351.16. Another survey showed China's manufacturing sector continued to expand. China is Brazil's top trading partner and the world's second biggest economy is a major buyer of Latin America's commodities, such as oil, iron and soybeans. Shares of widely-traded mining firm Vale SA rose 1.29 percent, contributing most to the index's gains. The company said on Friday that the start of operations at a new mine helped drive fourth-quarter production of iron ore above the third quarter for the first time in nine years. State-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA , known as Petrobras, added 2.1 percent, rebounding from a four-day, nearly 8 percent slide. Petrobras shares dropped in previous sessions after the company announced a fuel price rise that failed to ease investor concerns about the health of the company's finances. "Petrobras is up on bargain-hunting," Paes said. "No one seriously expects the government to let the company fail." Still, worries about government intervention in the economy and rising inflation as well as sluggish growth even after the central bank cut interest rates to a record low last have sapped demand from Brazilian equities. Redemptions from Brazil-focused stock funds hit their highest level in 36 weeks, EPFR data showed, as investors preferred investing in Mexico and Colombia. Chile's IPSA index rose for the third straight session, adding 0.30 percent as Banco de Chile , the country's second-largest bank, rose 1.4 percent. Shares of pension company AFP Provida, which are not part of the IPSA index, fell 5.22 percent top U.S. life insurer MetLife Inc said it agreed to buy the company for about $2 billion. The price was below what many investors were expecting. Latin America's key stock indexes at 2300 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI LatAm 3,979.83 1.07 4.79 Brazil Bovespa 60,351.16 0.99 -0.99 Mexico IPC 45,768.49 1.08 4.72 Chile IPSA 4,566.12 0.3 6.15 Chile IGPA 22,219.83 0.24 5.46 Argentina MerVal 3,531.46 1.99 23.72 Colombia IGBC 15,110.18 0.86 2.68 Peru IGRA 21,800.27 1.7 5.68 Venezuela IBC 494,130.1 -0.13 4.81 3
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