* Mexico's IPC slides, led by America Movil
* Brazil interest rate hike adds to Bovespa losses
MEXICO CITY Jan 16 Most Latin American stock
indexes fell on Thursday, led by Brazil's benchmark index, which
tumbled on concern higher U.S. and Brazilian interest rates will
choke growth and fuel-sales losses will crimp profit at
state-run oil giant Petrobras.
The Bovespa index, which tracks the most-traded
stocks on the Sao Paulo stock exchange, reversed early gains to
fall 0.82 percent. Mexico's IPC index fell 0.8 percent.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally
known, led the Bovespa lower, with its preferred shares, the
company's most-traded class of stock, falling 2.12 percent and
common shares shedding 2.81 percent.
Late on Wednesday, the Brazilian government said it was not
considering an increase in gasoline and diesel fuel prices in
June, denying a report in the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper.
Petrobras' refining division has lost more than $12 billion
in two years because of the government's fuel-pricing policy.
This policy keeps domestic prices below world prices, forcing
Petrobras to sell rising fuel imports at a loss. Local diesel
prices are about 20 percent below world prices.
The half-percentage-point increase in Brazil's benchmark
interest rates by the central bank late Wednesday also helped
drive stocks lower. The larger-than-expected increase could slow
an already sluggish economy.
In Mexico, telecoms giant America Movil,
controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, led the index lower,
falling 0.88 percent.
Slim has upped his company and family stakes in Telekom
Austria, giving himself enough of the pie to veto big
decisions at the Austrian firm but less than the 30-percent
mandatory takeover offer threshold.
Additionally, a judge has ordered Slim's fixed-line phone
company Telmex to stop divesting assets, which rivals and
analysts believe is part of a strategy that could allow him to
Chile's IPSA index rose 0.63 percent to close on
3,673 points, thanks to 1.48 percent gain in bank Banco de Chile