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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks fall in April on economy jitters
April 30, 2012 / 10:26 PM / 5 years ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks fall in April on economy jitters

* Spain falls into recession, U.S. economy in downshift

* Brazil Bovespa index drops 0.21 pct

* Chile IPSA up 0.22 pct, Mexico IPC gains 0.35 pct

By Roberta Vilas Boas and Rachel Uranga

SAO PAULO/MEXICO CITY, April 30 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks fell slightly on Monday, clocking a second monthly decline, as signs of a weak U.S. economy and a recession in Spain added to worries about a global economic downturn.

The MSCI Latin American stock index slipped 0.05 percent to 3,923.65 points after gaining for two-sessions with volume low ahead of a holiday on Tuesday.

“We are seeing more volatility,” said Pablo Spyer, head of the brokerage division at Mirae Securities in Sao Paulo.

Worries about China coming in for a so-called hard-landing, the possibility that Spain could need a Greek-style bailout and patchy U.S. data weighed on markets in April. Meantime a slew of corporate earnings added to volatility.

Chile’s IPSA stock index dropped 1.83 percent, slipping for the first time since November. Mexico’s IPC index ended the month near flat while Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index declined 4.17 percent, down for a second straight month.

A weaker currency in Brazil could help equities bounce back as foreign investors seek bargains. The real has slid about 4 percent this month.

“If we do not have a break in the euro zone and if the dollar remains at current levels, there may be a port of entry for foreigners, but the roller coaster behavior will continue,” Spyer added.

Concern over a worsening euro zone debt crisis and a slowdown in global economic growth tend to lead investors away from riskier assets such as Latin American equities.

Pressuring shares Spain, the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy, slipped into recession in the first quarter as domestic demand fell. Spain joined Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Belgium and the Netherlands on the list of euro zone countries with shrinking economies.

Meantime a batch of data suggested the U.S. economy could be in a downshift as it entered the second quarter. Consumer spending rose only modestly last month and a gauge of Midwest business activity fell sharply in April.

“Until we have a clearer view of the global outlook the investor wanting risk will be more concentrated in the American market,” said Julio Martins, a consultant with asset management firm Adinvest in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index gained 0.21 percent to 61,820.26 points.

State-controlled oil producer Petrobras gained 1.72 percent while oil producer OGX, controlled by billionaire Eike Batista, lost 2.07 percent.

Brasil Foods, the world’s largest poultry exporter, fell 2.76 percent after posting a 60 percent drop in first-quarter net income late Friday.

Mexico’s IPC index clung to a three-day rally, up 0.35 percent at 39,461.00.

“Better economic data and corporate reports in Mexico have provided support, nevertheless the rise of certain stocks is pushing portfolios to restructure,” said Juan Jose Resendiz, a technical analyst at financial group Ve Por Mas.

America Movil, the biggest cellphone company in Latin America, gained 2.30 percent after having posted a 37 percent jump in first-quarter net profit last week.

Shares in the company have gained about 9 percent this month, boosted by a rise after the first-quarter report. Controlled by billionare Carlos Slim, America Movil accounts for nearly a quarter of the index’s weight.

Retailer Wal-Mart Mexico slid 1.97 percent.

Chile’s IPSA index gained 0.22 percent to 4,585.77 points advancing for a second straight days.

Retail holding giant Cencosud climbed 1.67 percent and department store Falabella increased 1.02 percent.

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