EMERGING MARKETS-Latam markets gain on dovish signs from the U.S.
BRASILIA, April 28 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies and stocks gained on Thursday after weak U.S. growth numbers and a monetary policy statement by the Federal Reserve suggested a smaller likelihood of interest rate hikes in the near future. Disappointing earnings limited gains in Brazilian stocks though. The Bovespa index, close to a nearly one-year high, remained steady as banks and consumer-related companies missed profit expectations in the midst of a deep recession. As the Fed kept interest rates at 0.25 percent on Wednesday, it acknowledged that economic growth has slowed, which was confirmed by gross domestic product data on Thursday. Investors read the message as a signal that the bank might refrain from raising rates twice this year, as it currently predicts. The dollar fell against most currencies in Latin America and other emerging markets. The Colombian peso was the best performer, up more than 1 percent despite a slight drop in the price of oil, a major export for the country. "The Fed's dovish tone weakens the dollar," Octavio de Barros, chief economist at Brazilian bank Bradesco, said in a research note. He forecast the next U.S. rate increase would come in the second half of 2016. In Brazil, shares of Banco Bradesco SA fell more than 2 percent after the bank missed first-quarter profit estimates due to rising defaults. Natura Cosmeticos SA shares dropped nearly 6 percent after the cosmetics company reported a net loss for the first quarter. Vale SA was an equities bright spot in Brazil. Preferred shares rose more than 4 percent after the world's largest iron ore producer beat analysts' forecasts with its first profit in three quarters. It benefited from higher ore prices and a stronger Brazilian real. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1343 GMT: Stock Latest daily % YTD % indexes change chang e MSCI Emerging Markets 841.98 -0.14 6.17 MSCI LatAm 2273.53 0.42 23.73 Brazil Bovespa 54492.47 0.03 25.70 Mexico IPC 45484.81 -0.99 5.83 Chile IPSA 3979.82 0.01 8.14 Chile IGPA 19557.26 0 7.74 Argentina MerVal 0.00 0 -100. 00 Colombia IGBC 10082.78 -0.04 17.96 Venezuela IBC 15705.65 0 7.66 Currencies Latest daily % YTD % change chang e Brazil real 3.5070 0.42 12.55 Mexico peso 17.2650 0.32 -0.20 Chile peso 664.5 0.33 6.80 Colombia peso 2892.02 1.40 9.59 Peru sol 3.2752 0.31 4.24 Argentina peso (interbank) 14.1700 0.18 -8.38 Argentina peso (parallel) 14.69 0.68 -2.86 (Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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