EMERGING MARKETS-Chilean stocks down on foreign sales; Petrobras supports Bovespa
By Asher Levine and Anthony Esposito SAO PAULO/SANTIAGO, May 20 (Reuters) - Chilean stocks dropped on Tuesday as weak earnings spurred foreigners to sell shares in a low-volume session, while the nation's currency weakened nearly 1 percent, driven by lower copper prices and higher demand for dollars ahead of a market holiday. Brazilian and Mexican stocks both posted modest gains, though not enough to keep the broader MSCI Latin American stock index in positive territory. Chile's blue-chip IPSA index slid 1.46 percent, with commodities-linked companies falling hardest in the world's top copper producer. Shares in CAP dropped 2.6 percent after the iron-ore and steel producer posted disappointing results late Monday night, and heavy-weight Empresas Copec, Chile's largest industrial conglomerate, slipped 2.78 percent on expectations it will post weak earnings later this week, a trader said. The Chilean peso weakened its most in over a month as the price for copper, the country's main export, sank its most in nearly two weeks. Chile's market will be closed on Wednesday for the Navy Day holiday. Dollar demand tends to rise the day before market holidays as traders look to close positions, analysts said. Elsewhere in the region, Brazil's Bovespa stock index made a partial rebound from Monday's loss, driven by a 1.5 percent gain in preferred shares of state-controlled oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras. Analysts said some investors may be upping their bets on the stock in anticipation of a closely watched electoral poll due Thursday. Recent polls showing a decline in President Dilma Rousseff's approval rating ahead of October's election have driven big gains in the stock as shareholders hold out hope for a more market-friendly administration. Shares of planemaker Embraer SA rose over 2 percent after the company announced a $3.26 billion order from Brazil's Air Force. Mexican stocks edged higher, led by bargain-hunting for shares of telecommunications firm America Movil a day after the stock slid 4 percent. In currency markets, Brazil's real and Mexico's peso both weakened about 0.4 percent against the dollar, as political unrest in Thailand and concern over Chinese economic growth led to a decline in global risk appetite. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1739 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1032.48 -0.28 3.27 MSCI LatAm 3354.79 -0.26 5.08 Brazil Bovespa 53546.25 0.36 3.96 Mexico IPC 41896.22 0.13 -1.94 Chile IPSA 3884.71 -1.28 5.02 Chile IGPA 19046.13 -1.08 4.49 Argentina MerVal 7251.98 1.33 34.52 Colombia IGBC 13472.91 -1.22 3.07 Peru IGRA 15606.11 -0.41 -0.94 Venezuela IBC 2189.78 2.03 -19.98 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.2135 -0.26 6.47 Mexico peso 12.9499 -0.35 0.62 Chile peso 552.8 -0.90 -4.83 Colombia peso 1919.99 -0.10 0.63 Peru sol 2.792 -0.14 0.04 Argentina peso (interbank) 8.0600 -0.03 -19.45 Argentina peso (parallel) 11.58 -2.33 -13.64 (Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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