EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks gain; Chile peso drops on cenbank caution
By Paula Laier SAO PAULO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Latin American markets mostly rose on Tuesday as the S&P 500 reached a record high, boosting investor appetite for risk in general, but caution sent Chile's peso to a six-month low before a central bank monetary policy meeting. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index gained more than 1 percent as a rise in banking stocks offset a fall in shares of state-run oil company Petrobras, which has been hit by a corruption scandal. Investors remained cautious, however, as they gauged the political and economic impacts of an unprecedented money laundering and bribery scandal at Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Brazil's oil company is formally known. Petrobras' shares fell about 2 percent as UBS analysts estimated the company could write down $10 billion off its books as it reassesses the value of assets based on whether bribes were part of the purchase price. Uncertainty about the future economic team of re-elected President Dilma Rousseff's also left investors jittery. "Investors are between neutral and slightly pessimistic," said a fund manager in Rio de Janeiro who asked not to be identified. "If we have a name inspiring confidence in the finance ministry, then domestic assets could improve." Other Latin American bourses also rose, driving the benchmark MSCI stock index for the region 1.2 percent higher. While most regional currencies posted gains, the Chilean peso lost 0.48 percent to 598.10 per dollar as investors turned cautious before a central bank monetary policy meeting. Although Chilean policymakers are not expected to further cut interest rates this year, investors adopted a defensive stance after economic data confirmed Chile's economy is growing at its slowest pace in five years. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2020 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging Markets 989.06 0.32 -1.68 MSCI LatAm 2942.01 1.24 -9.21 Brazil Bovespa 52061.86 1.57 1.08 Mexico IPC 43454.21 0.19 1.70 Chile IPSA 3930.41 0.21 6.25 Chile IGPA 19154.81 0.17 5.09 Argentina MerVal 9748.819 0.74 80.83 Colombia IGBC 12887.37 -0.35 -1.41 Peru IGRA 15171.44 0.49 -3.70 Venezuela IBC 2865.85 -1.48 4.72 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.5891 0.45 -8.97 Mexico peso 13.544 0.32 -3.80 Chile peso 598.1 -0.48 -12.04 Colombia peso 2149.8 0.43 -10.13 Peru sol 2.927 0.07 -4.58 Argentina peso 8.5125 0.00 -23.73 (interbank) Argentina peso 13.5 -0.15 -25.93 (parallel) (Additional reporting by Froilan Romero in Santiago, writing by Walter Brandimarte; Editing by Grant McCool)
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