* Brazil's Linx, Mexico's Sanborns make market debuts
* Brazil markets to close from Monday to 1 p.m. Wednesday
* Brazil Bovespa rises 0.21 pct, Mexico IPC up 0.16 pct
By Danielle Assalve
SAO PAULO, Feb 8 Latin American stocks ended
slightly up on Friday but Brazilian gains were limited because
of concerns that a strengthening real will hurt exports.
Despite the modest gains, Brazil's Bovespa index fell 3.1
percent for the week, its worst weekly performance since
November last year.
Analysts said the poor Bovespa showing reflected larger
concerns about the Brazilian economy. Earlier this week Brazil
announced that consumer prices jumped in January by the most in
almost eight years, pushing annual inflation up to 6.15 percent,
and scaring off risk-averse investors.
On Friday, Brazil's central bank intervened to halt a
currency rally, setting the boundaries of a new informal trading
band that government officials hope will help curb inflation
without hurting exporters.
"There is a perception that Brazil is in macroeconomic
disarray and this affects the outlook for companies," said
Silvio Campos Neto, an economist at Tendencias Consultoria in
Sao Paulo. "Investors want a more stable environment for
The Bovespa ended the day up 0.21 percent at 58,497.83
points after data showed Chinese exports grew more than expected
in January. China is Brazil's biggest trade partner.
Nonetheless, 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.
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.
In Brazil, state oil giant Petrobras drove gains,
adding 1.37 percent, while shares of Linx SA,
Brazil's largest maker of management software for retailers,
rose 18.52 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.
Brazilian markets will be closed on Monday through Wednesday
Mexico's IPC index was up 0.16 percent, but down 1.48
for the week.
Shares in the off-IPC Grupo Sanborns, the
Mexican retailer and coffee chain owned by Carlos Slim, saw a
rocky market debut, starting the day up before falling off to
end at 28.46 pesos/share, slightly up on the 28 peso/share list
Chile's bourse was nearly unchanged. The IPSA ended
the week up 0.5 percent.
Latin America's key stock indexes at 2142 GMT:
Stock indexes Pct
MSCI LatAm 3,902.11 0.14
Brazil Bovespa 58,497.83 0.21
Mexico IPC 45,089.36 0.16
Chile IPSA 4,589.06 -0.03
Chile IGPA 22,280.73 -0.19
Argentina MerVal 3,279.96 -0.69
Colombia IGBC 15,023.23 -0.13
Peru IGRA 21,778.57 0.33
Venezuela IBC 566,926.75 0.21