April 9, 2018 / 10:00 PM / a year ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks battered by election uncertainty

    By Bruno Federowski
    BRASILIA, April 9 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks fell on
Monday as traders fretted over the hardest-to-predict
presidential elections in decades, although meatpacker Marfrig
Global Foods SA soared after it said it would acquire
control of U.S.-based National Beef Packing Co           .
    Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva turned himself in
to police on Saturday to begin serving a 12-year prison sentence
for corruption that derails his bid to return to power.

    Lula, who had criticized the government's efforts to cut
social security spending, had easily led voting polls, unnerving
traders who saw those austerity plans as key to curbing growth
of public debt.
    Investors expect Lula to continue to exert influence over an
election that is now without an obvious front-runner.
    "With all that uncertainty, it is natural that local markets
demand a higher risk premium," said a manager at a Rio de
Janeiro-based brokerage. 
    The benchmark Bovespa stock index fell 1.78 percent,
the only decliner among Latin America's main equity indexes,
which were mostly range-bound. In Mexico, the IPC index
rose 0.28 percent, following movements in the United States. 
    Mexico's peso depreciated 0.3 percent as the government said
it would review all its cooperation with the United States, in a
sign of President Enrique Pena Nieto's increasing frustration
with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump's treatment of Mexico.

    Key Latin American stock indexes at 2130 GMT:       
 Stock indexes               Latest       Daily    YTD pct
                                            pct     change
 MSCI Emerging Markets        1,163.07     0.09        0.4
 MSCI LatAm                   2,998.85    -0.99       6.04
 Brazil Bovespa              83,307.23    -1.78       9.04
 Mexico IPC                  48,058.96     0.28      -2.62
 Chile IPSA                   5,632.71     0.89       1.22
 Chile IGPA                  28,012.69     0.14       0.11
 Argentina MerVal            31,844.43     0.33       5.92
 Colombia IGBC               11,959.03     0.67       5.17
 Venezuela IBC                6,433.71     7.03     409.34
 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski and Christine Murray
Editing by Leslie Adler)
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