EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks track global markets higher; China boosts Vale
SAO PAULO, May 12 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks tracked global markets higher on Monday, with shares of iron-ore miner Vale helping Brazil's Bovespa index post its biggest one-day gain in nearly two weeks. The broader MSCI Latin American stock index erased the previous two sessions' losses. Currencies were mostly flat, though the Chilean peso strengthened about 0.5 percent on the back of higher prices for copper, the country's main export. Investors latched onto a surge in global equity markets on Monday, fueled by strong corporate earnings and optimism over the global economic outlook. Brazilian stocks were also boosted by the outlook for capital market reform in China, the country's top trading partner and a key purchaser of Latin American commodities exports including copper, soy and iron ore. Brazil's Bovespa stock index rose 1.5 percent as preferred shares of Vale SA, which counts China as its biggest customer, climbed 3.5 percent. Preferred shares of state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA rose 1.6 percent. The company known as Petrobras posted a 30 percent drop in first quarter net income compared with a year earlier, but the figure came slightly above analysts' expectations. Shares of homebuilder Gafisa SA dropped their most in nearly three weeks after the company posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss late Friday. Elsewhere in Latin America, both Mexico's IPC index and Chile's IPSA index posted modest gains, in line with markets abroad. In currency markets, the Brazilian real was little-changed at 2.22 per dollar. Analysts say the real is tracking within an informal band of between 2.2 and 2.25 per dollar and will remain there for the foreseeable future barring any major changes in the global economic outlook. Colombia's peso weakened about 0.5 percent after the country's central bank released minutes late on Friday from its most recent policy-setting meeting that raised interest rates to 3.5 percent. One member of the bank's monetary policy board favored leaving the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.25 percent, the minutes showed. "The policy minutes failed to provide further clarity in terms of future policy direction, but recent comments by key policymakers speak to a higher rate trajectory," wrote Oxford Economics analyst Aryam Vazquez on Monday. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1831 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1014.92 0.79 0.42 MSCI LatAm 3375.3 1.34 4.06 Brazil Bovespa 53922.62 1.55 4.69 Mexico IPC 41911.98 0.65 -1.91 Chile IPSA 3915.26 0.29 5.84 Chile IGPA 19193.08 0.22 5.30 Argentina MerVal 6844.43 -0.03 26.96 Colombia IGBC 13599.6 0.45 4.04 Peru IGRA 16086.88 1.29 2.12 Venezuela IBC 2289.5 0 -16.34 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.2174 -0.11 6.29 Mexico peso 12.9537 -0.08 0.59 Chile peso 551.2 0.65 -4.55 Colombia peso 1913.49 -0.51 0.97 Peru sol 2.786 0.11 0.25 Argentina peso (interbank) 8.0100 -0.06 -18.95 Argentina peso (parallel) 10.65 0.09 -6.10 (Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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