April 5, 2018 / 11:04 PM / a year ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico stock exchange leads gains on NAFTA optimism

 (Updates prices)
    SAO PAULO, April 5 (Reuters) - Latin American equities rose
across the board on Thursday, with Mexico's benchmark IPC index
 among the top gainers on hopes that NAFTA negotiators
will soon strike a preliminary deal.
    Analysts at multiple Mexican brokerages said optimism that
the North American Free Trade Agreement will be successfully
renegotiated was supporting the IPC index, which climbed 1.25
    Sources close to the negotiations said the United States,
Mexico and Canada could announce a settlement on some of the
thorniest issues in the pact, such as regional content for
automotives, by mid-April.
    Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered a
positive assessment of NAFTA negotiations, saying the talks were
"moving forward in a significant way."
    The Mexican peso, however, slipped 0.57 percent due to the
strengthening dollar. 
    Brazil's Bovespa index also saw strong gains, up
1.14 percent in afternoon trading.
    The country's top court early on Thursday rejected former
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's plea to avoid prison while
he appeals a corruption conviction, a vote that likely ends his
political career and hobbles any possible campaign for an
October presidential election.
    Lula is Brazil's most popular politician, but is feared by
investors for his redistributive policies and his belief in
heavy state involvement in the economy. The corruption
conviction likely bars him from running, and his imprisonment,
which could happen within a week, would make campaigning all but
    The region's markets were also supported by less bellicose
rhetoric from international leaders on ongoing trade tiffs.
    Larry Kudlow, U.S. President Donald Trump's top economic
advisor, said the United States and China were involved in a
"negotiation" rather than a trade war, while China said the
effective date of its planned tariffs on U.S. exports depended
on when U.S. action took effect.
    Chile's benchmark IPSA index also jumped 1.16
percent, as the country's dominant export, copper,
climbed more than 1 percent on easing trade tensions.

    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1931 GMT:
 Stock indexes           Latest          Daily   YTD pct
                                           pct    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets      1,165.33      0.84     -0.24
 MSCI LatAm                 3,067.25      1.35      7.01
 Brazil Bovespa            85,320.24      1.14     11.67
 Mexico IPC                48,049.14      1.25     -2.64
 Chile IPSA                 5,607.03      1.16      0.76
 Chile IGPA                28,060.86      1.08      0.29
 Argentina MerVal          31,726.53       1.3      5.52
 Colombia IGBC             11,832.14      1.02      4.06
 Venezuela IBC              5,859.29      8.37    363.87
 Currencies                   Latest     Daily   YTD pct
                                           pct    change
 Brazil real                  3.3441     -0.12     -0.92
 Mexico peso                 18.2025     -0.57      8.22
 Chile peso                   603.35     -0.15      1.87
 Colombia peso                 2,790      0.05      6.88
 Peru sol                      3.226     -0.06      0.34
 Argentina peso              20.1900     -0.05     -7.88
 Argentina peso                20.33      1.33     -5.41

 (Reporting by Gram Slattery; additional reporting by Julia
Love; Editing by Richard Chang)
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