* Declines by Vale and Petrobras offset gains by banks, OGX
* Chile and Mexico both gain
* Brazil Bovespa near flat, Mexico IPC up 0.43 pct
By Lucas Iberico-Lozada
SAO PAULO, Aug 30 Brazilian stocks seesawed on
Friday as blue chips fell on uncertainty over a potential
U.S-led military strike against Syria and the tapering off of
the U.S. Federal Reserve's bond buying.
Mexico's IPC index snapped a seven-session slump,
while Chile's bourse gained for the second session in a
Growing talk of a U.S.-led military strike in Syria has
pushed up oil prices, depressed emerging market stocks and made
investors more risk-averse this week.
A slew of mixed U.S. economic data released on Friday
offered little help on when the Fed might start to reduce its
bond-buying program, which has until recently held U.S. yields
down and supported the appetite for Latin American equities.
Brazil's second-quarter gross domestic product expanded by
1.5 percent from the previous quarter, the
government said on Friday. That outperformed the 0.9 percent
growth that 38 analysts forecast in a Reuters poll.
"The better-than-expected GDP numbers pushed the Bovespa up
this morning, but we're still not seeing much consistency," said
Alvaro Bandeira, a partner at Orama Investimentos in Rio de
"The volatility we have seen in previous days' trading will
continue, what with the expected reduction in the Fed's
bond-buying program and Syria weighing on markets," he added.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index was nearly
flat in early afternoon trading after oscillating between gains
and losses of 1 percent throughout the morning.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the state-run oil company
known as Petrobras, sagged over 1 percent. Iron-ore miner Vale
SA fell 0.2 percent, and steelmaker Usinas
Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA was little changed.
Lenders Itau Unibanco Holding SA and Banco
Bradesco SA both rose about 1.2 percent.
Bargain-hunters pushed up shares of OGX Petroleo e Gas
Participacoes SA, the cash-strapped oil company
controlled by embattled Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista, by as
much as 6 percent. OGX has fallen nearly 36 percent this week,
and about 88 percent this year.
Mexico's IPC index rose nearly 1 percent to
39,497.60, as retail giant Wal Mart de Mexico added
America Movil, the telecommunications firm
controlled by multibillionaire Carlos Slim, edged higher after
the company threatened to pull out of a 7.2 billion euro bid to
acquire Dutch telecoms group KPN.
Chile's IPSA index jumped by 1.6 percent to 3,610.82
points after the Chilean government reported that unemployment
had fallen to 5.7 percent, at least a ten-year low.
Shares of LATAM Airlines Group and energy company
Enersis SA led the index's gains, adding 2.7 percent
and 2.3 percent, respectively.
Latin America's key stock indexes at 1529 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % YTD %
MSCI LatAm 3,020.37 -0.4 -20.15
Brazil Bovespa 49,919.48 -0 -18.10
Mexico IPC 39,331.02 0.43 -10.01
Chile IPSA 3,597.36 1.21 -16.37
Chile IGPA 17,865.71 0.88 -15.21
Argentina MerVal 3,942.66 0.51 38.13
Colombia IGBC 13,645.45 -0.08 -7.27
Peru IGRA 16,652.22 0.79 -19.28
Venezuela IBC 1,342,487 -0.59 184.77