EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks drop on profit-taking; Latam FX up
SAO PAULO, April 1 (Reuters) - Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index led losses in Latin American equity markets on Tuesday, after closing out March with its biggest rise in more than two years, while most currencies in the region strengthened on continued dollar inflows. The Bovespa index fell 0.8 percent as investors took some profits after the index rose 7 percent in March. Mexico's IPC index dipped 0.1 percent following a 4.3 percent rise in the previous month. The declines came even as expectations rose that China will act to support its economy following weak manufacturing data for March and that the U.S. Federal Reserve will keep its monetary stimulus for longer after dovish comments from Chair Janet Yellen on Monday. "Overseas markets continue with a positive tone after Yellen's remarks, but we were very stretched here," said Luiz Roberto Monteiro, an equities trader with brokerage Renascença in São Paulo. As of Monday, the Bovespa had recorded gains in 10 of the previous 11 sessions, closing above 50,000 points for the first time in nearly three months. Among the biggest decliners in the Brazilian market were shares of telecommunications firm Grupo Oi SA, which slid 3 percent after sources said banks were considering pulling out of a 6 billion real ($2.7 billion) share offering by the company. Shares of Itaú Unibanco Holding SA rose 0.2 percent as the bank's weighting on the Bovespa index was poised to rise in the May-August period, according to the first preview of the index released by the bourse. Latin American currencies extended their recent rally, with traders saying dollars continued to flow into Latin America as investors sought higher returns. Brazil's real rose 0.5 percent to 2.26 per dollar, though gains were curbed by uncertainty about the pace of central bank intervention in the foreign exchange market. Brazil's central bank rolled over only part of the currency swaps that expired on Tuesday in a decision that was seen by analysts as a sign that policymakers do not want the real to strengthen much past the level of 2.3 per dollar. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1643 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging 1000.22 0.56 -0.8 Markets MSCI LatAm 3184.34 -0.31 -0.21 Brazil Bovespa 50018.62 -0.79 -2.89 Mexico IPC 40413.62 -0.12 -5.41 Chile IPSA 3788.38 0.41 2.41 Chile IGPA 18608.63 0.3 2.09 Argentina MerVal 6371.38 -0.03 18.18 Colombia IGBC 13767.43 -0.43 5.33 Peru IGRA 14282.93 -0.11 -9.34 Venezuela IBC 2579.85 2.25 -5.73 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.2555 0.53 4.49 Mexico peso 13.0215 0.28 0.07 Chile peso 550.6 -0.22 -4.45 Colombia peso 1962.94 0.43 -1.58 Peru sol 2.808 0.00 -0.53 Argentina peso 8.0000 0.03 -18.84 (interbank) Argentina peso 10.71 0.84 -6.63 (parallel) (Reporting by Priscila Jordao and Bruno Federowski; writing by Walter Brandimarte; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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