EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil's Bovespa pauses after rally, Latam currencies mostly stable
SAO PAULO, April 16 (Reuters) - Brazil's Bovespa stock index fell the most it had in nearly three weeks on Thursday as investors took profits following a recent rally. The broader MSCI Latin American stock index remained in positive territory for the third straight session, though, while most currencies in the region were little-changed. The Bovespa is up about 13 percent over the last month and on Wednesday nearly crossed the 55,000 point threshold, a level it has not breached since late last year. Many investors have been encouraged by low prices following a sell-off earlier in the year, as well as by perceptions that political infighting over Brazil's fiscal adjustment efforts had diminished. Thursday's losses in the Bovespa were driven mostly by a 4 percent drop in shares of state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras. The stock had been hovering near its lowest price in over 10 years in recent months due to investigations of a corruption scandal, but it rebounded about 55 percent since mid-March. Bargain hunters and foreign investors seeking exposure to Brazil led that rally on hopes the fallout from the scandal would not be as bad as originally expected. Currency markets were mostly calm, though the Brazilian real fluctuated near the 3.03 per dollar level. "The market is trying to find a new level, whether its at 3 or beyond that," said Flavio Serrano, senior economist with investment bank BESI in Sao Paulo. "Without any relevant news we'll see (the real) oscillating at this level" Colombia's peso weakened about 0.5 percent, weighed down by a drop in the price for oil, the country's main export. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1554 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1052.34 1.49 8.42 MSCI LatAm 2652.31 0.8 -3.53 Brazil Bovespa 54463.91 -0.83 8.91 Mexico IPC 45194.1 -0.15 4.75 Chile IPSA 4032.92 0.02 4.73 Chile IGPA 19578.25 0.02 3.75 Argentina MerVal 11940.159 -1.55 39.18 Colombia IGBC 10439.22 -0.06 -10.27 Peru IGRA 13067.63 0.36 -11.67 Venezuela IBC 5474.34 0.04 100.04 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.0215 0.41 -22.00 Mexico peso 15.221 0.39 -14.39 Chile peso 611.5 0.86 -13.97 Colombia peso 2495.24 0.47 -22.57 Peru sol 3.1241 0.00 -10.60 Argentina peso 8.8650 0.03 -26.76 (interbank) Argentina peso 12.69 0.87 -21.20 (parallel) (Reporting by Asher Levine and Flavia Bohone; editing by Gunna Dickson)
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