* Brazil's economy grows less than expected in Q4
* Brazil's Bovespa falls 0.94 pct, Mexico IPC down 0.28 pct
By Danielle Assalve
SAO PAULO, March 1 Stocks in Brazil fell on
Friday, hurt by data that showed its economy grew less than
expected late last year, while Mexican stocks dipped on concerns
about the local impact from expected U.S. government spending
Brazil's Bovespa index fell 0.94 percent to
56,883.99, cutting into a rebound from a three-week low that the
index hit last week. The gauge closed up 0.33 percent in the
Data showed Latin America's biggest economy grew 0.9 percent
in the last three months of 2012, just below estimates, adding
to concerns that growth remains sluggish even as inflation is
picking up speed.
"This number is not good. We have weak gross domestic
product while we are having a problem of inflation. This is
worrisome and bad for the market," said Clodoir Vieira, chief
economist at brokerage Souza Barros in Sao Paulo.
Iron miner Vale lost 3.56 percent while
homebuilder PDG Realty SA shed 4.98 percent.
Brazil's Bovespa has slumped 10 percent since the start of
the year, hurt recently by expectations that the central bank
may need to raise borrowing costs to fight inflation even as
growth remains weak.
Mexico's IPC stock index dipped 0.28 percent to
Bottler Femsa lost 2.08 percent while plastic
pipe maker Mexichem lost 5.45 percent. The company
earlier this week posted a loss for the fourth quarter.
Mexico, which sends nearly 80 percent of its exports to its
northern neighbor, could be hurt by across-the-board U.S.
government spending cuts that were set to begin on Friday after
lawmakers failed to reach a deal to avert the cuts.
Mexican stocks outperformed Brazil last year, hitting
successive record highs, but equities in Latin America's
second-biggest economy have fallen a little more than 4 percent
from a record high in January.
"I think we have seen the correction, especially in the big
companies," said Jorge Gordillo, an analyst at CI Banco in
Mexico City. "If U.S. politics get more complicated, (stocks)
could fall a bit more, but not so much," he said.
Chile's IPSA index rose 0.32 percent, mostly on a
3.14 percent gain in retailer Falabella.
Shares of rival Chilean retailer Cencosud closed
flat after it said net profit in the fourth quarter rose 20.7
percent on better operational results and lower taxes.
Major Latin American stock indexes at 21:45 GMT
Stock indexes daily % YTD %
MSCI LatAm 3,812.47 -0.32 0.39
Brazil Bovespa 56,883.99 -0.94 -6.67
Mexico IPC 43,995.72 -0.28 0.66
Chile IPSA 4,573.26 0.32 6.32
Chile IGPA 22,284.57 0.29 5.76
Argentina MerVal 3,099.71 1.67 8.60
Colombia IGBC 14,785.82 -0.35 0.48
Peru IGRA 20,646.48 0.17 0.08
Venezuela IBC 620,808.5 -0.08 31.68