Brazil currency falls, stocks steady despite TIM

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SAO PAULO, May 6 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks closed little changed on Tuesday, weighed down by banking shares and mobile phone company TIM Participacoes, but buoyed by Petrobras, while the national currency dipped on concerns the government may announce measures to ease a recent surge.

The Sao Paulo Stock Exchange's benchmark Bovespa index .BVSP finished just 0.03 percent higher at 70,195.27 points -- a new all-time high close -- after erasing modest losses.

Shares of TIM Participacoes TCSL4.SA, Brazil's second-largest mobile phone company, slumped 8.07 percent to 5.24 reais after it reported a wider first-quarter loss. Banks declined after Itau, Brazil's second-largest private sector bank, posted first-quarter results and a slowdown in loan growth.

The Brazilian real BRBY weakened for a second consecutive session, edging down 0.12 percent to 1.661 per U.S. dollar.

The government may soon announce measures to boost export industries with a fund to finance Brazilian companies doing business abroad, but the measures are not aimed directly at the strong real, Budget Minister Paulo Bernardo said on Tuesday.

“The government will announce a package (to stimulate exports). Before that package is announced, nothing really will happen in the currency market,” said Mario Battistel, manager of currency trading at the Fair brokerage.

Interest-rate futures <0#DIJ:> on the BM&F commodities and futures exchange in Sao Paulo were mostly higher after data on Tuesday showed prices in Brazil’s largest city quickened in April. Inflation in Sao Paulo rose 0.54 percent last month, faster than the 0.31 percent gain in March, the Fipe research institute said.

On the stock exchange, Itau ITAU4.SA, Brazil's second-largest private sector bank, fell 4.3 percent to 47.61 reais. The bank said on Tuesday its first-quarter profit rose 7.5 percent to 2.04 billion reais from a year earlier and was up 0.7 percent from the fourth quarter. Loan growth slowed to 7.9 percent quarter-on-quarter after expanding 11.9 percent in the fourth quarter. For details, see [ID:nN06364869]

Other banks also fell on concerns growth in lending, one of the main sources of profits for the financial sector in past quarters, may slow further because of an increase in domestic interest rates.

Bradesco BBDC4.SA fell 3 percent to 39.09 reais, while Banco do Brasil BBAS3.SA dropped 3.67 percent to 28.9 reais.

But state-controlled oil company Petrobras PETR4.SA -- Bovespa's bellwether listing -- rose 2.62 percent to 45 reais as crude prices rose nearly 2 percent in London and New York amid concerns over tight supplies.

Mining company Vale VALE5.SA, the second most heavily weighted stock in the Bovespa index, gained 1.47 percent to 55.2 reais, buoyed by firmer prices of copper and other industrial metals. (Reporting by Elzio Barreto and Silvio Cascione; editing by Gary Crosse)