January 17, 2018 / 11:58 PM / a month ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks rise on foreign inflows, news events

(Updates prices, adds Mexico markets)

SAO PAULO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa equities index registered strong gains on Wednesday, breaching the 81,000-point mark for the first time amid strong inflows of foreign capital and industry-related news that lifted some major stocks.

In the first nine sessions of 2018, the Bovespa registered 3.584 billion reais ($1.11 billion) in inflows, well above the 2.2 billion reais registered in the same period last year. Analysts and investors say the trend is continuing, buoyed by high foreign liquidity levels and a continually improving Brazilian economy.

“Given that foreign assets are rather exhausted, and among emerging markets Brazil was a little behind, we have this inflow of capital,” said Carlos Eduardo Eichhorn, head of investment management at Mapfre Investimentos.

The Bovespa ended the session up 1.7 percent, while Brazil’s real currency gained 0.37 percent.

Brazil’s Cia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de São Paulo , known as Sabesp, was among the big winners. Its shares shot up 5.34 percent after regulators released specifics for a new tax regime that could favor the water and sewage service provider.

Shares of state-run oil major Petróleo Brasileiro SA , or Petrobras, climbed 4 percent, after the government said it was setting up a committee to resolve an oil rights dispute dating back to 2010.

Shares in Carrefour Brasil, one of the nation’s two biggest food retailers, rose 3 percent after reporting a 5.3 percent increase in fourth-quarter gross sales on Tuesday.

MRV Engenharia e Participações SA, Latin America’s largest home builder by units sold, added 1.6 percent after reporting contracted sales jumped 34.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

Mexico’s peso gained 0.37 percent on Wednesday to reach its highest level since Dec. 5, but pared gains after President Donald Trump’s comments that he could pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a trade pact that is a linchpin of Mexico’s export-led economy.

$1 = 3.23 reais Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Susan Thomas and Leslie Adler

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