EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil real jumps on U.S. data; stocks seesaw on corporate news
By Bruno Federowski and Paula Arend Laier SAO PAULO, July 29 (Reuters) - The Brazilian real strengthened more than its Latin American peers on Friday as the central bank refrained from intervening to curtail a rally triggered by lower expectations of U.S. rate increases this year. Stock markets seesawed following a heavy batch of corporate updates, with shares of Petróleo Brasileiro SA up after the state-controlled oil company sold off a $2.5 billion stake in an offshore exploration license. The U.S. economy grew far less than expected in the second quarter, leading many investors to roll back bets on a near-term rate hike by the Federal Reserve. Keeping U.S. rates lower for longer would maintain the allure of high-yielding emerging market assets, lifting currencies from Latin America. The Brazilian real jumped about 2 percent, outperforming other currencies in the region. Even so, Brazil's central bank abstained from acting to weaken the currency despite doing so almost daily in July. The country's benchmark Bovespa stock index rose in volatile trade. Shares in Petrobras, as the oil company is known, ranked among the biggest boosts to the index after it agreed to sell a 66 percent stake in the key Carcará field to Norway's Statoil . The sale is the first in a $15 billion divestment program as Petrobras seeks to cut debt and revive investor confidence amid a sweeping graft scandal. Shares of food processor BRF SA posted their biggest daily gain in more than two months despite a tumble in second-quarter profit. In a conference call, executives said they could raise prices in the second half of 2016 in order to boost profitability. Planemaker Embraer SA led the losses, falling to its lowest in three and a half years. The company reported an unexpected quarterly loss, cut its outlook for executive jet sales this year and set aside provisions to settle a U.S. graft probe. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1530 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 874.04 -0.17 10.25 MSCI LatAm 2376.91 0.98 28.63 Brazil Bovespa 56866.00 0.35 31.18 Mexico IPC 46450.64 -0.82 8.08 Chile IPSA 4122.43 -0.41 12.02 Chile IGPA 20391.86 -0.33 12.34 Argentina MerVal 15731.71 1.78 34.74 Colombia IGBC 9716.55 -0.05 13.68 Venezuela IBC 12458.70 0.55 -14.60 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.2358 1.84 21.98 Mexico peso 18.7700 0.64 -8.20 Chile peso 652.8 1.64 8.72 Colombia peso 3070.04 0.59 3.23 Peru sol 3.351 0.00 1.88 Argentina peso (interbank) 15.0625 -0.13 -13.81 Argentina peso (parallel) 15.39 0.84 -7.28 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski and Paula Arend Laier; Writing by Bruno Federowski; Editing by David Gregorio)
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