March 1, 2018 / 10:07 PM / in 10 months

EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico stocks rebound, SQM shares sink in Chile

 (Recasts with Mexico and Chile stocks, adds analyst comment)
    By Sheky Espejo
    MEXICO CITY, March 1 (Reuters) - Mexican stocks bounced back
from a 12-week low on Thursday, while concerns about lithium
prices drove down shares of a key producer in Chile.
    The Mexican equities benchmark S&P/BMV IPC index rose
0.3 percent after falling 6 percent in February, its biggest
monthly percentage loss since September 2011.
    The fall in Mexican equities last month was driven by fears
that higher U.S. interest rates could sap demand for riskier
assets. Slack corporate earnings reports and jitters about free
trade negotiations with the United States also weighed.
    But analysts said those concerns may have been overblown for
some companies, given the outlook for modest growth this year in
the United States, Mexico's top trading partner. 
    "Buyers came out today trying to take advantage of
attractive prices in many companies," said Gerardo Copca at
consultancy Metanalisis. 
    Shares in cement maker Cemex, one of the world's
top cement makers, jumped more than 5 percent off its lowest
since mid-2016, while autoparts maker Nemak gained
3.6 percent, up from its lowest since last November.
    Mexico's peso hit a three-week low early in the session, but
bounced back to trade flat after the dollar fell against the yen
and euro, following President Donald Trump's announcement that
the United States would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum.

    In Chile, shares in SQM, one of the world's
largest lithium producers, plummeted over 6 percent to their
lowest level in seven months. The fertilizer and lithium
company's stock has shed nearly 18 percent this week.
    The latest losses were fed by fears that prices for the
battery ingredient could weaken, following a statement by SQM
that prices could decrease in the second half, and a forecast of
a surplus by a broker earlier this week.
   
Key Latin American stock indexes at 21:15 GMT:
    
    
 Stock indexes                              daily  YTD %
                                                %  chang
                                  Latest    chang      e
                                                e  
 MSCI Emerging Markets             1193.16  -0.17   3.17
 MSCI LatAm                        3066.72  -0.03   8.46
 Brazil Bovespa                   85377.79   0.03  11.75
 Mexico IPC                       47599.42   0.34  -3.56
 Chile IPSA                        5527.92  -1.34  -0.66
 Chile IGPA                       27806.64  -1.16  -0.62
 Argentina MerVal                 32013.03  -3.02   6.48
 Colombia IGBC                    11321.66  -0.78  -0.43
 Venezuela IBC                     4197.31  -1.07  232.2
                                                       9
                                                        
 Currencies                                 daily  YTD %
                                                %  chang
                                            chang      e
                                    Latest      e  
 Brazil real                        3.2541   0.37   1.82
 Mexico peso                       18.8450  -0.03   4.53
                                                   
 Chile peso                         595.85  -0.23   3.16
 Colombia peso                        2878  -0.43   3.61
 Peru sol                            3.261   0.15  -0.74
 Argentina peso (interbank)        20.1500  -0.15  -7.69
                                                   
 
 (Additional reporting by Felipe Iturrieta in Santiago, Editing
by Rosalba O'Brien)
  
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