EMERGING MARKETS-Latam markets gain on Ukraine; Bovespa down on profit-taking
SAO PAULO, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies and stocks gained on Wednesday, fed by mounting risk appetite after Ukraine and Russia took steps towards peace, though Brazilian stocks pared back on profit-taking. The MSCI Latin American stock index rose for the third session in four, reaching its highest level in over 15 months before meeting technical resistance near 3,720 points. Ukraine said on Wednesday its president had agreed with Russia's Vladimir Putin on steps towards a "ceasefire regime" in Kiev's conflict with pro-Russian rebels. Hope for peace helped drive global stock markets higher, though the Kremlin denied any actual truce deal. Mexico's IPC stock index edged higher. Shares of retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico added about 1 percent after the company said its same-store sales rose 3.5 percent in August from a year earlier, the best reading of the year so far. Chile's IPSA index rallied for a fourth day. Chile's central bank cut its 2014 growth forecast to a range of 1.75 percent to 2.25 percent from a prior view of 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent on Wednesday as domestic demand growth slides almost to a halt. It said a weaker peso and lower interest rates would help support a recovery in 2015. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index fell back slightly as investors took profits in widely-traded shares such as state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA and lender Itau Unibanco Holding SA. The index has struggled to break technical resistance near 62,300 points in every session this week. In currency markets, the Mexican and Colombian pesos both strengthened, while the Chilean peso was held in neutral territory, weighed down by lower prices for copper, the country's main export. The Brazilian real strengthened for the sixth session in seven, with investors increasing bets that President Dilma Rousseff will lose her bid for re-election in October to a more market-friendly challenger. A Reuters poll on Wednesday showed that the real is set to weaken over the next year on prospects of higher interest rates in the United States, though a Rousseff loss could soften the currency's drop. The poll also showed Mexican currency trading at 12.75 per dollar in 12 months, up 3 percent from Tuesday's close, on prospects of a heavy flow of foreign investments in oil production after a recently approved reform in the country's energy sector. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1711 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1100.04 1.22 8.38 MSCI LatAm 3685.45 0.37 14.71 Brazil Bovespa 61359.26 -0.87 19.13 Mexico IPC 45940.86 0.25 7.52 Chile IPSA 4087.51 0.8 10.50 Chile IGPA 19784.27 0.67 8.54 Argentina MerVal 10361.329 2.42 92.20 Colombia IGBC 14662.01 -0.14 12.17 Peru IGRA 17118.8 0.62 8.67 Venezuela IBC 2624.16 0.1 -4.11 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.2322 0.33 5.58 Mexico peso 13.0848 0.17 -0.42 Chile peso 588.8 0.03 -10.65 Colombia peso 1923.75 0.38 0.43 Peru sol 2.85 -0.14 -2.00 Argentina peso (interbank) 8.4150 -0.06 -22.85 Argentina peso (parallel) 14.22 0.21 -29.68 (Reporting by Asher Levine; editing by Andrew Hay)
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