* ECB signals it intends to keep monetary policy loose
* US consumer confidence highest in almost six years
* Brazil Bovespa gains 0.43 pct, Mexico IPC adds 0.48 pct
By Asher Levine and Danielle Assalve
SAO PAULO, May 17 Brazilian stocks rose on
Friday after a pledge from the European Central Bank to support
economic growth through loose monetary policy boosted shares of
Mexico's IPC index erased the previous session's
losses, while Chile's bourse sunk towards its lowest
closing level in a month.
Shares rose after ECB board member Joerg Asmussen told
journalists on Friday that the bank's monetary policy would
remain expansive for as long as needed.
Stocks got a further boost from data showing consumer
confidence in the United States rose to the highest level in
nearly six years in early May.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index rose for the
third session in four, adding 0.43 percent to 55,005.44.
Widely traded iron-ore producer Vale SA rose 1
percent, contributing most to the index's gains, while state-run
oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as
Petrobras, added 0.5 percent.
Local stocks with high liquidity tend to attract foreign
investors looking for exposure to Latin American equities, with
their performance often tracking global risk appetite.
"Commodities firms are driving the market forward today, but
it's important to remember we are in a very undefined period for
the market right now, without a short-term trend in either
direction," said Rudimar Joner Filho, a broker with Banrisul
Corretora in Porto Alegre.
Analysts said the index should remain volatile ahead of the
expiration of options on shares, scheduled for Monday.
Shares of card payment processor Cielo dropped
5.3 percent after a Brazilian senator introduced a bill calling
for limits on transaction fees for debit cards.
"We think there is still a long way to go for a possible
final approval," Credit Suisse analysts led by Mario Pierry
wrote in an investor note on Friday. "Nonetheless, we believe
such bill of law serves as a reminder that regulatory risks have
Mexico's IPC index rose its most in over a week,
adding 0.48 percent to 41,959.92.
Lender Grupo Financiero Banorte gained 1.53
percent, contributing most to the index's rise, while retailer
Wal-Mart de Mexico added 0.8 percent.
Chile's IPSA index fell for the third straight
session, losing 0.29 percent to 4,249.00 as shares of LATAM
Airlines Group fell 1.9 percent.
Latin America's key stock indexes at 1716 GMT:
Stock indexes Daily YTD pct
Latest pct change
MSCI LatAm 3,693.45 -0.2 -2.55
Brazil Bovespa 55,005.44 0.43 -9.76
Mexico IPC 41,959.92 0.48 -3.99
Chile IPSA 4,249.00 -0.29 -1.22
Chile IGPA 20,871.58 -0.28 -0.94
Argentina MerVal 3,692.43 -0.38 29.36
Colombia IGBC 13,325.51 0.00 -9.45
Peru IGRA 16,365.98 -0.31 -20.67
Venezuela IBC 763,341.75 0.46 61.92