EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks follow global rise; currencies up on U.S. data
SAO PAULO, May 13 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks tracked global markets higher on Tuesday, while currencies strengthened against the dollar after weak retail sales data from the United States. The MSCI Latin American stock index rose for a second straight day, with Brazil's Bovespa index up 0.23 percent and Mexico's IPC index gaining 0.65 percent. Chile's IPSA index was little changed. Local stocks took their cue from markets abroad, with nearly every major U.S and European index in positive territory. The S&P 500 index topped the 1,900 mark for the first time. Shares of brewer Ambev SA helped boost Brazil's Bovespa after the government announced a three-month delay in a planned tax hike on beer and soft drinks. After the announcement, the shares reversed early losses to gain 1.3 percent. Mexican stocks rose for a second straight day, led by a 3 percent gain in lender Santander Mexico. Shares of cement maker Cemex recovered from early losses to trade nearly unchanged, a day after Lorenzo Zambrano, who led the company for three decades, died suddenly. Most of the region's currencies strengthened after data showed U.S. retail sales grew more slowly than expected in April. The data reduces the probability of an earlier-than-expected increase in U.S. interest rates, which would hurt local currencies, said Pedro Tuesta, an economist with 4CAST in Washington, D.C. The Brazilian real strengthened for the fifth session in six, while yields on Brazilian interest rate futures <0#DIJ:> fell across the curve. Central bank director Luiz Awazu Pereira said on Tuesday that Brazil's recent interest-rate hikes were "sizable" and will help lower inflation, reinforcing signs that policymakers will hold rates where they are this month. The Mexican peso made up for the previous two sessions' losses, while Colombia's peso weakened. Colombia's treasury plans to buy dollars in the foreign exchange market to limit the strength of the peso, Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said on Tuesday. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1726 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1023.45 0.75 1.31 MSCI LatAm 3405.75 0.63 5.74 Brazil Bovespa 54179.58 0.23 5.19 Mexico IPC 42358.57 0.65 -0.86 Chile IPSA 3930.74 0.27 6.26 Chile IGPA 19238.58 0.12 5.55 Argentina MerVal 6873.36 0.43 27.50 Colombia IGBC 13665.19 -0.2 4.54 Peru IGRA 16055.3 -0.36 1.91 Venezuela IBC 2178.42 -4.85 -20.40 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.2090 0.25 6.69 Mexico peso 12.9287 0.18 0.78 Chile peso 548.6 0.47 -4.10 Colombia peso 1920.54 -0.38 0.60 Peru sol 2.783 0.14 0.36 Argentina peso (interbank) 8.0200 -0.09 -19.05 Argentina peso (parallel) 10.75 -0.37 -6.98 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski and Asher Levine; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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