* Brazil Bovespa down 1.62 pct, Mexico IPC falls 1.58 pct
By Asher Levine
SAO PAULO, Jan 24 Latin American stocks tumbled
to their lowest level in 4-1/2 years on Friday as investors
dumped shares of banks and commodities producers amid a global
sell-off of emerging markets securities and currencies.
The MSCI Latin American stock index fell
2.37 percent to 2,910.06, its lowest level since July 2009.
Emerging markets stocks and currencies, and to a lesser
extent bonds, have been pummeled in recent sessions as investors
fret over issues including slower growth in China and a decline
in U.S. monetary stimulus.
Brazil's currency, the real, has also weakened
sharply in recent days, partly due to a rapid currency
devaluation in neighboring Argentina, which could sap trade.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index dropped 1.62
percent to 47,535.88, a level it has not closed below in over
"The swing is a reflection of fear over investing in Brazil
and the exit of capital, with investors leaving the country,"
said Fausto Gouveia, an economist with Brazil's Legan Asset.
Shares of state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA
, known as Petrobras, fell 2.3 percent, while Itaú
Unibanco Holding SA, Brazil's largest non-government
bank, dropped 1.6 percent.
Brazil's Bovespa has fallen 20 percent in the past 12
months, compared with an 8.6 percent loss in Mexico's IPC index
and a 22.3 percent gain in the S&P 500 over the
Most investors have blamed the fall on broad concerns over
economic fundamentals, erratic policy implementation and
heavy-handed government meddling in the private sector.
Mexico's IPC index sank its most in over two months,
losing 1.58 percent to 40,876.87.
Shares of lender Grupo Financiero Banorte fell
2.6 percent, while bottling firm Femsa lost 1.9
Chile's IPSA index posted its biggest one-day drop
in over four months, falling 1.77 percent to 3,608.29 as only
four out of 40 stocks in the index hung onto gains.
Shares of retailed Falabella slid 2.6 percent,
while rival Cencosud fell 3.9 percent.
Miner and steel producer CAP rose 1.1 percent.
Latin America's key stock indexes at 1634 GMT:
Stock indexes Latest daily % YTD %
MSCI LatAm 2,910.06 -2.37 -6.88
Brazil Bovespa 47,535.88 -1.62 -7.71
Mexico IPC 40,876.87 -1.58 -4.33
Chile IPSA 3,608.29 -1.77 -2.46
Chile IGPA 17,858.63 -1.5 -2.02
Argentina MerVal 5,627.19 -2.5 4.38
Colombia IGBC 12,249.43 -1.20 -6.29
Peru IGRA 16,269.48 -0.66 3.27
Venezuela IBC 2,835.69 -0.41 -99.90