* Homebuilders slip after Brazil's MRV posts weak Q4 results
* Mexico's America Movil falls on reform bill
* Brazil Bovespa flat, Mexico IPC drops 0.22 pct
By Asher Levine
SAO PAULO, March 15 Brazilian stocks were little
changed on Friday after weak results from homebuilder MRV
dampened the outlook for the country's construction sector,
offsetting encouraging economic growth data from the central
America Movil weighed on Mexico's bourse after a
congressional committee passed a reform bill for the
telecommunications sector, while Chile's IPSA index
extended a recent slide.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index pared early
gains to trade flat at 57,299.51. The index is on track to close
the session with a nearly 2 percent weekly loss, however, its
worst since early February.
Construction firms contributed most to the index's declines,
with shares of MRV Engenharia e Participacoes SA down
over 6 percent after the company reported weaker-than-expected
fourth-quarter earnings late Thursday.
"We expect a further negative impact in the stock price in
the short term," analysts at Espirito Santo investment bank led
by Eduardo Silveira said in an investor note Friday, citing
concerns about the company's profitability.
Other stocks in the sector fell, with rival Gafisa SA
down 1.5 percent and PDG Realty SA
slipping 0.5 percent.
The Bovespa was partly supported, analysts said, by data
from Brazil's central bank on Friday that suggested a recovery
in Latin America's largest economy gained steam at the beginning
of the year.
Still, Brazil's Bovespa is lagging far behind other markets
this year as concerns over high inflation, slow growth and heavy
government intervention in the private sector lead investors to
seek out safer opportunities elsewhere.
"The market here will only improve if we have a signal of
political changes next year," said Marcelo Varejao, analyst at
brokerage firm Socopa Corretora in Sao Paulo. "Investors need to
see a more market-friendly administration."
Mexico's IPC index dropped for the fourth session in
five, losing 0.22 percent to 43,252.86.
Shares of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim's phone giant America
Movil fell nearly 3 percent and contributed most to
the index's decline after a congressional committee passed an
ambitious bill that aims to loosen his hold on the
Chile's IPSA index retreated for the fourth straight
day, losing 0.57 percent to 4,424.48.
Retailer Falabella dropped 1.6 percent,
contributing most to the index's decline, while LATAM Airlines
Group fell 2.6 percent.
Latin America's key stock indexes at 1519 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % YTD %
Latest change change
MSCI LatAm 3,845.49 -0.43 1.69
Brazil Bovespa 57,299.51 0.03 -5.99
Mexico IPC 43,252.86 -0.22 -1.04
Chile IPSA 4,424.48 -0.57 2.86
Chile IGPA 21,692.21 -0.53 2.95
Argentina MerVal 3,506.81 0.21 22.86
Colombia IGBC - - -
Peru IGRA 19,902.60 0.53 -3.52
Venezuela IBC - - -