EMERGING MARKETS-Mexican markets rise as reforms take step forward
By Jean Arce and Asher Levine MEXICO CITY/SAO PAULO, May 16 (Reuters) - Mexican stocks rose on Friday amd the country's peso curency appreciated after legislators approved a bill that will help pave the way for major energy reform measures. The broader MSCI Latin American stock index rose slightly, with Brazilian and Chilean stocks both edging higher. So-called secondary laws for electoral reform were passed in Mexico's Congress on Friday. Mexico's opposition conservative National Action Party had demanded their passage before it would vote for legislation to implement President Enrique Pena Nieto's energy reform, a central plank of his vision to breathe new life into the economy. "In one week, they managed to push forward and approve political reforms, and the vote was strongly in favor, so that leads you to believe that the negotiations for telecoms will also go well and could be done this month, leaving time for energy reform in June," said Rafael Camarena, an economist with Santander in Mexico City. Camarena added that an improving outlook for the U.S. economy was supporting Mexican assets. The benchmark IPC stock index nearly made up for the previous session's losses, outpacing other stock indexes in the region. Widely-traded shares such as those of telecommunications firm America Movil and bottling firm Femsa , which tend to attract foreign investors looking for exposure to the Mexican market, contributed most to the index's rise. Shares of cement manufacturer Cemex also rose after it announced a new chief executive following the sudden death of Lorenzo Zambrano earlier this week. Brazil's Bovespa stock index was little changed as a rise in electric utilities such as Eletrobras, which posted strong quarterly earnings on Thursday, offset a decline in commodities firms such as iron-ore miner Vale SA. Vale on Thursday said it would shut down its money-losing Integra coal mine in Australia. Chile's IPSA index rebounded from Thursday's loss, driven by a 45.5 percent jump in shares of CFR Pharmaceuticals SA following news that Abbott Laboratories would acquire the company in a $2.9 billion deal. Latin American currencies were mostly stronger against the dollar a day after weak economic data from the United States and euro zone cut investor appetite for riskier investments. "Today we are seeing a correction (with the dollar retreating)," said Tarcisio Rodrigues, foreign exchange director at Banco Paulista in Sao Paulo. The Brazilian real strengthened 0.45 percent to 2.21 reais per dollar, within what analysts see as an informal trading band of 2.20 to 2.25 reais being enforced by the central bank through currency interventions. The Mexican and Chilean Pesos also strengthened about 0.5 percent against the dollar, while Colombia's peso was little-changed. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1642 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1032.45 0.33 2.63 MSCI LatAm 3383.01 0.62 5.04 Brazil Bovespa 53891.02 0.07 4.63 Mexico IPC 41944.15 0.92 -1.83 Chile IPSA 3961.21 0.35 7.08 Chile IGPA 19353.15 0.3 6.18 Argentina MerVal 6822.74 0.56 26.56 Colombia IGBC 13576.72 -0.21 3.87 Peru IGRA 15739.55 -0.33 -0.09 Venezuela IBC 2185.75 0 -20.13 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.2120 0.35 6.55 Mexico peso 12.9123 0.36 0.91 Chile peso 550.5 0.51 -4.43 Colombia peso 1925.94 0.00 0.31 Peru sol 2.786 -0.04 0.25 Argentina peso (interbank) 8.0600 -0.06 -19.45 Argentina peso (parallel) 11.03 -0.54 -9.34 (Additional reporting by Bruno Federowski in Sao Paulo Editing by W Simon)
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