March 9, 2018 / 5:18 PM / 4 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latin American equities jump on U.S. jobs data

    SAO PAULO, March 9 (Reuters) - Latin American equities
soared across the board on Friday, with Brazil's benchmark
Bovespa index gaining the most  intraday in three weeks,
after new economic data in the United States eased fears of
tighter monetary policy there.
    The U.S. Labor Department said non-farm payrolls rose by
313,000 jobs in February, the biggest increase in more than
1-1/2 years.
    Crucially, wage growth was relatively subdued, which
tempered concerns that the Federal Reserve will raise interest
rates four time this year instead of three, as previously
expected.
    "In general, the data has been pointing toward growth at a
moderate rate, which points to maintaining a gradual rhythm of
rate hikes by the Federal Reserve," analysts at brokerage
Capital Markets wrote in a note to clients.
    Mexico's IPC index rose 1.38 percent in morning
trade, roughly in line with Wall Street, while Chile's IPSA
 rose 0.98 percent, and Argentina's small and volatile
Merval popped 3.39 percent, supported by the country's
energy sector.
    In Brazil, markets were further supported by weak inflation
data, which boosted rate cut bets. The Bovespa had risen 1.95
percent by early afternoon.
    Vale SA, which produces key steelmaking
ingredient iron ore, reversed a series of losses, some of them
serious, after U.S. President Donald Trump indicated that he was
open to negotiating a number of exceptions to steel import
tariffs. The company's shares had risen 1.6 percent in afternoon
trade, accounting for about 10 percent of the Bovespa's rise.

    Shares of Embraer SA rose 6.6 percent after the
chief executive of Boeing Co, in an interview with
Reuters, appeared upbeat about the possibility of acquiring the
Brazilian plane maker.
    Shares of MRV Engenharia e Participações SA, one
of Latin America's largest homebuilders, climbed 3.3 percent
after the company posted strong fourth-quarter results and its
co-CEO said multiple rounds of extraordinary dividends could be
on the way in 2018.
  
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1300 GMT:
    
 Stock indexes                 Latest    daily %   YTD % change
                                         change    
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1177,98   1,76      1,69
                                                   
 MSCI LatAm                    2909,76   2,89      2,89
                                                   
 Brazil Bovespa                77891,04  1,95      1,95
 Mexico IPC                    50033,95  1,38      1,38
 Chile IPSA                    5618,91   0,98      0,98
 Chile IGPA                    28220,56  0,86      0,86
 Argentina MerVal              31084,42  3,39      3,39
 Colombia IGBC                 11528,66  0,44      1,39
 Venezuela IBC                 1265,26   0,17      -96,01
                                                   
 Currencies                    Latest    daily %   YTD % change
                                         change    
 Brazil real                   3,2619    -0,10     1,58
 Mexico peso                   19,4760   1,14      1,14
 Chile peso                    606,5     1,34      1,34
 Colombia peso                 2928,23   1,84      1,84
                                                   
 Peru sol                      3,237     0,00      0,00
 Argentina peso (interbank)    18,3900   1,41      1,14
                                                   
 Argentina peso (parallel)     19,2      0,42      0,16
                                                   
 
 (Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
  
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