* Brazil's Linx, Mexico's Sanborns make market debuts
* Brazil markets to close from Monday - 1 p.m. Wednesday
* Brazil Bovespa rises 0.17 pct, Mexico IPC up 0.3 pct
By Danielle Assalve
SAO PAULO, Feb 8 Brazilian stocks gained in
choppy trading on Friday after strong trade data from China but
gains were limited because of concerns that a strengthening
Brazilian currency will hurt exports.
Mexico's IPC index rose shortly after opening while
Chile's bourse was nearly unchanged. The Bovespa
gained 0.17 percent to 58,417 after data showed Chinese exports
grew more than expected in January.
China is Brazil's biggest trade partner.
Market participants said optimism over the Chinese data was
limited because Brazil's currency, the real, strengthened
sharply in recent sessions, hitting its strongest level in nine
months on Thursday.
The Bovespa was negative throughout morning trading.
A stronger currency can help curb inflation because it makes
imports cheaper for local consumers. It hurts exporting firms,
though, especially in a commodities powerhouse like Brazil,
because it makes their goods more expensive abroad.
"If the market sees a trend in a weaker dollar, that
pressures shares of exporting companies that have most of their
revenues in the U.S. currency," said Aloisio Villeth Lemos, a
broker with Agora Corretora in Rio de Janeiro.
BRF Brasil Foods SA, the world's No. 1 poultry
exporter, fell 1.17 percent while Brazil's Fibria Celulose SA,
, the world's largest producer of eucalyptus pulp, was
down 1.64 percent.
Shares of Vale, the world's largest iron ore
exporter and second-largest global mining firm, fell 0.16
Market volatility was enhanced by low volumes ahead of next
week's Carnival holiday. Brazil's markets will be closed from
Monday morning until after lunch on Wednesday.
Limiting losses, shares of Linx SA, Brazil's
largest maker of management software for retailers, rose 14.74
percent in their first day of trading on the Bovespa.
The firm's initial public offering priced at the top of the
suggested range, according to a filing on Wednesday. A fund
manager who participated in the IPO attributed strong demand to
Linx's established name in Brazil.
Mexican stocks were initially also boosted by a debut on the
IPC index. Tycoon Carlos Slim's retailer Sanborns
rose as much as 3.6 percent but then fell 0.7 percent to 27.8
The IPC index was down 0.3 percent shortly after
opening. Chile's IPSA index was down 0.08 percent.
Latin America's key stock indexes at 15:20 GMT:
Stock indexes daily YTD %
MSCI LatAm 3,896.82 0.01 2.6
Brazil Bovespa 58,471.0 0.17 -4.07
Mexico IPC 45,155.3 0.3 3.32
Chile IPSA 4,586.92 -0.08 6.64
Chile IGPA 22,315.4 -0.04 5.91
Argentina 3,302.03 -0.02 15.69
Colombia IGBC 15,029.8 -0.08 18.67
Peru IGRA 21,723.8 0.08 5.31
Venezuela IBC 566,546. 0.14 20.17