August 3, 2018 / 9:49 PM / 3 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks lead gains, NAFTA hopes boost Mexico

 (Updates prices)
    By Bruno Federowski and Paula Laier
    BRASILIA, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks led gains in
Latin America after state-controlled oil company Petróleo
Brasileiro SA reported a larger-than-expected jump in quarterly
net profit, while Mexico's stocks and currency climbed on
optimism about NAFTA negotiations.
    Rising oil prices and diesel subsidies allowed Petrobras, as
the Brazilian firm is known, to boost its market share.
    Also helping to lift sentiment were hopes that Brazilian
Senator Ana Amélia Lemos could run as center-right presidential
candidate Geraldo Alckmin's running mate, after she said she was
close to agreeing to do so late on Thursday.
    Igor Lima, a partner at Galt Capital, said that could boost
Alckmin's clout among women as well as in Brazil's southern
region.
    Traders have taken a cautious stance ahead of October's
presidential election, the hardest to predict in decades. Many
fear the winner could reverse recent government moves toward
deregulation and belt-tightening that they see as critical to
restoring Brazil's investment grade credit rating.
    The benchmark Bovespa stock index was up 2.18
percent, by far the largest gainer in the region, while the
Brazilian real led the advance in currency markets,
closing up 1.34 percent.
    Latin American currencies were up across the region, after
the U.S. government reported slowing domestic job growth, as
employment in the transportation and utilities sectors fell.
    That could drive the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest
rates at a slower-than-expected pace, bolstering demand for
high-yielding assets.
    Rising hopes for a deal to overhaul the North American Free
Trade Agreement (NAFTA) boosted Mexican stocks and currency,
which were both up 0.54 percent in afternoon
trading. 
    
    Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1920 GMT:
    
 Stock indexes                  daily   YTD %
                                    %  change
                     Latest    change  
 MSCI Emerging        1074.80    0.69   -7.86
 Markets                               
 MSCI LatAm           2752.97    2.33   -4.88
                                       
 Brazil Bovespa      81372.76    2.18    6.51
                                       
 Mexico IPC          49320.93    0.54   -0.07
                                       
 Chile IPSA           5413.94    0.52   -2.71
                                       
 Chile IGPA          27294.85    0.57   -2.45
                                       
 Argentina MerVal    29234.31    1.22   -2.76
                                       
 Colombia IGBC       12072.93   -0.56    6.18
                                       
 Venezuela IBC       99626.63     4.7  7787.2
                                            2
                                             
 Currencies                     daily   YTD %
                                    %  change
                               change  
                       Latest          
 Brazil real           3.7030    1.43  -10.52
                                       
 Mexico peso          18.5445    0.54    6.23
                                       
 Chile peso            643.15    0.26   -4.43
                                       
 Colombia peso         2891.6    0.41    3.13
                                       
 Peru sol               3.267    0.18   -0.92
                                       
 Argentina peso       27.2900    0.66  -31.84
 (interbank)                           
                                       
 Argentina peso            28    0.54  -31.32
 (parallel)                            
                                       
 

 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski and Paula Laier; additional
reporting by Julia Love; editing by Grant McCool and Tom Brown)
  
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