February 25, 2013 / 3:50 PM / in 5 years

EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks choppy on investor caution

* Inflation, growth concerns continue to weigh on Bovespa
    * Telefonica Brasil shares jump after Q4 profit beat
    * Brazil Bovespa falls 0.14 pct, Mexico IPC flat

    By Asher Levine and Danielle Assalve
    SAO PAULO, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks were choppy
on Monday as investors remained cautious over the outlook for
inflation and economic growth in Latin America's largest
    Chile's bourse edged higher for the second straight
day while Mexico's IPC index was little changed.
    Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index traded 0.14
percent lower at 56,616.19 in the early afternoon after hovering
near Friday's closing level for most of the session.
    OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA, the oil
company controlled by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, fell
3.6 percent and contributed most to the index's loss. Itaú
Unibanco Holding SA, Brazil's largest non-government
bank, rose 1.2 percent, supporting the index.
    The Bovespa has fallen in eight of the last nine sessions as
mounting inflation pressure contributes to investor concerns
that Brazil's central bank will need to hike interest rates from
current record lows.
    A rise in interest rates could contribute to a decline in
local equities as large investors move assets into fixed-income
    Analysts said investors will remain cautious this week ahead
of fourth-quarter gross domestic product data due on Friday.
    "The market here is worse than those abroad, mostly due to
the increase in regulatory risk, uncertainty over exchange rate
policy, and inflation hovering above 6 percent," said Álvaro
Bandeira, a partner with Órama Investimentos in Rio de Janeiro.
"We'll only see a real improvement in the market if we can get
above 58,300 points. For now we are stuck."
    Shares of phone company Telefonica Brasil SA rose
3 percent after the company said fourth-quarter net income edged
up 1 percent from a year earlier to 1.474 billion reais ($748
million), exceeding the average forecast of 1.1 billion reais
from a Reuters poll of analysts. 
    Mexico's IPC index was little changed at 43,849.42
following three straight days of declines.
    Shares of bottling group Femsa rose 0.7
percent, partially offsetting a 1.2 percent drop by
telecommunications firm America Movil.
    Chile's IPSA index rose for the second straight
session, adding 0.19 percent to 4,553.16 as retailer Falabella
 rose 1 percent.

    Latin America's key stock indexes at 1526 GMT: 
 Stock indexes                            daily %     YTD %
                                Latest     change    change
 MSCI LatAm                    3,821.61      0.32       0.3
 Brazil Bovespa               56,616.19     -0.14     -7.11
 Mexico IPC                   43,849.42     -0.06      0.33
 Chile IPSA                    4,553.16      0.19      5.85
 Chile IGPA                   22,184.82      0.15      5.29
 Argentina MerVal              3,165.22      0.79     10.89
 Colombia IGBC                14,896.49      0.25      1.23
 Peru IGRA                    20,649.59      0.08      0.10
 Venezuela IBC               622,733.13      0.63     32.09

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