(Updates prices, adds JBS development, NAFTA talks)
By Bruno Federowski
SAO PAULO, May 12 Brazilian stocks rose on
Friday for the fourth straight day as Petroleo Brasileiro SA
shares hit an 11-week high after the state-controlled
oil company reported its strongest operating profit ever.
Preferred shares of Petrobras, as the company is known,
jumped as much as 5.1 percent after earnings before interest,
tax, depreciation and amortization rose 19 percent to 25.254
billion reais ($8.1 billion), beating the consensus forecast by
1.38 billion reais.
Shares of Petrobras closed up 4.25 percent to close at 15.45
Petrobras and health insurer Qualicorp accounted for about
half of the 1.01 percent gain for Brazil's benchmark Bovespa
stock index. The move also reflected a recent pickup in
appetite for emerging market assets, tracking recent strength in
the euro and global weakness in the U.S. dollar.
Meanwhile, shares of leading Brazilian meatpacker JBS fell
as Brazilian police investigate potential fraud in loans by
state development bank BNDES, according to federal court
documents released on Friday.
In Mexico, Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said he
expected negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) with the United States and Canada would start towards
the end of August.
Guajardo will travel to Washington next week to meet with
his newly confirmed U.S. counterpart.
Elsewhere, Peru's central bank official Adrian Armas told
reporters on a conference call on Friday that the country's
economic growth in March would be "quite low," after growing at
the weakest pace in more than two years in February.
U.S. President Donald Trump's unexpected firing of FBI head
James Comey fueled expectations of delays to the implementation
of his pledges of heavy spending and tax cuts, which had stoked
bets on a fast pace of U.S. interest rate hikes in coming
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2100 GMT:
Stock indexes Latest daily % change YTD % change
MSCI Emerging 1002.37 0.2 16.25
MSCI LatAm 2717.66 1.47 16.11
Brazil Bovespa 68221.94 1.01 13.27
Mexico IPC 49426.08 -0.21 8.29
Chile IPSA 4851.94 0.65 16.88
Chile IGPA 24331.46 0.66 17.35
Argentina MerVal 21502.41 0.35 27.10
Colombia IGBC 10757.00 1.63 6.21
Venezuela IBC 60658.38 0.22 91.32
Currencies Latest daily % change YTD % change
Brazil real 3.1229 0.01 4.04
Mexico peso 18.7930 0.27 10.38
Chile peso 671.2 0.09 -0.07
Colombia peso 2920 0.20 2.79
Peru sol 3.269 0.55 4.44
Argentina peso 15.4300 0.13 2.88
Argentina peso 15.88 0.25 5.92
(Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and