December 1, 2017 / 11:22 PM / a year ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks post narrow gains in cautious buying

 (Adds details on Mexican stocks, peso; closing levels)
    SAO PAULO, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Brazil's benchmark stock index
ended slightly higher on Friday as investors sought buying
opportunities among stocks that had fallen about 3 percent in
the last three sessions on doubts about whether the country's
Congress would pass a proposed overhaul of pensions.
    In recent days, investors and analysts have focused on
attempts by President Michel Temer to whip up the votes he needs
in Congress to pass the pension bill, seen as vital to
bolstering Brazil's fiscal health.
    Equity and currency markets held relatively steady across
Latin America. Mexico's S&P/BVM IPC share index briefly
reached its lowest level since March before recovering to close
0.37 percent higher than Thursday.
    The Mexican peso briefly strengthened after former
U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty on
Friday to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia and agreed
to cooperate with prosecutors delving into the actions of
President Donald Trump's inner circle before he took office in
    The peso later pared gains to trade almost flat.
    Mexico's financial markets have been rattled since Trump
took office due to fears he could follow up on campaign threats
to pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade
Agreement, known as NAFTA, which underpins a large chunk of the
country's export business.
    Broadcaster Grupo Televisa put pressure on
Mexico's main share index, with its stock falling 2.3 percent.
Bottler and retailer Fomento Economico Mexicano, or FEMSA,
 helped offset that with shares rising 2.4 percent.
    In Brazil, the Bovespa index closed up 0.41 percent,
while the real fell 0.09 percent. 
    The Bovespa declined 3.4 percent during November as the
pension bill was watered down.
    But investors were more hopeful on Friday ahead of Temer's
plan to meet this weekend with Geraldo Alckmin, governor of São
Paulo state and a key figure in the Brazilian Social Democracy
Party, which would be an important partner in the pension
    In Argentina, the Merval stock index climbed as
institutional investors made select purchases on the relatively
small index, including a focus on energy utilities.
    The index rose 0.14 percent, and the Argentine peso
jumped as high as 1.17 percent before ending flat.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2230 GMT:
 Stock indexes                 Latest      Daily    YTD pct
                                            pct      change
 MSCI Emerging Markets          1,115.94     -0.43     29.42
 MSCI LatAm                     2,729.77      0.39     16.62
 Brazil Bovespa                72,264.45      0.41     19.99
 Mexico IPC                    47,265.31      0.37      3.55
 Chile IPSA                     5,024.42      0.42     21.03
 Chile IGPA                    25,274.71      0.43     21.90
 Argentina MerVal              26,941.63      0.14     59.25
 Colombia IGBC                 10,840.11      0.29      7.03
 Venezuela IBC                  1,357.95      2.89    -95.72
 Currencies                    Latest      Daily    YTD pct
                                            pct      change
 Brazil real                      3.2580     -0.09     -0.27
 Mexico peso                     18.6125      0.09     11.45
 Chile peso                        647.8      0.00      3.54
 Colombia peso                   2,996.6      0.51      0.16
 Peru sol                          3.234      0.00      5.57
 Argentina peso (interbank)      17.2200      0.52     -7.81
 Argentina peso (parallel)         17.96      0.00     -6.35

 (Reporting by Gram Slattery and Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by
David Gregorio and Dave Graham)
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