May 30, 2019 / 8:38 PM / a year ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks hit over three-week peak on Mexico, Brazil gains

 (Recasts throughout; updates prices, adds graphic, quote on
    By Aaron Saldanha
    May 30 (Reuters) - An index of Latin American stocks rose on
Thursday, aided by gains among Mexican stocks on optimism around
its trade deal with Canada and the United States, while most
Latin American currencies softened marginally against the
    Sentiment towards Mexico warmed with President Andres Manuel
Lopez Obrador saying the government will send the trade deal
known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to the
country's senate to execute the ratification process.

    MSCI's index of Latin American stocks hit a
more than three-week high and was last up 1.2%, while its Latin
American currencies index gained 0.5%.    
    Mexican stocks rose 0.8%, largely on gains among
financials and materials, while the peso ticked firmer.  
    Regional SAB de CV rose 4.8%, while fellow lender
Gentera SAB de CV added 4.1%.
    Lopez Obrador also said the Mexican economy could grow 2
percent this year, a day after the central bank said the
economic outlook was uncertain and trimmed its 2019 growth
    Sao Paulo-traded shares rose 0.7%, as gains among
financials helped overcome losses among energy stocks.
    Banco Bradesco SA's common shares rose 1.4%,
matching the gain seen by its preferred stock.
    Common shares and preferred shares of 
Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) dipped 0.2% and 1.3%,
respectively, hurt by a steep decline in Brent crude futures
    The state-run oil firm said it received an information
request from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission about
its trading activities after prosecutors found evidence of fraud
in deals with major traders.
    Brazil's real failed to gain ground against the
dollar as data confirmed fears the economy shrank in the first
quarter, for the first time since 2016.    
    Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said the contraction was no
surprise, adding he was confident of recovery only if fiscal and
economic reforms are implemented. Investors have been on the
lookout for the progress of a proposal to reform Brazil's
bloated pension system. 
    "The weak pace of investment is not a problem of monetary
policy calibration, but a reflection of a number of difficulties
and uncertainties damaging the business environment and clouding
the economic outlook," Mauricio Oreng, Rabobank's senior Brazil
strategist, wrote in a note, adding "the mounting fiscal
problems play a key role."
    Argentina's stocks tacked on 1.2%, while the peso
 weakened 0.4%. 
   Buenos Aires-traded equities have been resounding
out-performers among their Latin American peers this month,
recovering ground lost in a 11.6% slide during April. 
    Colombia's peso softened 0.3%, while stocks
held an even keel. Oil firm Ecopetrol SA fell 2.1% on
the back of the 4% drop in Brent crude futures.

    Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1912 GMT    
 Stock indexes                                daily
                                   Latest    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets               994.06    0.87
 MSCI LatAm                         2678.58    1.24
 Brazil Bovespa                    97251.48    0.71
 Mexico IPC                        43209.11    0.83
 Chile IPSA                         4937.77    1.25
 Argentina MerVal                  34360.49    1.16
 Colombia IGBC                     12061.71   -0.01
 Currencies                                   daily
 Brazil real                         3.9761   -0.02
 Mexico peso                        19.1107    0.09
 Chile peso                           709.2   -0.69
 Colombia peso                      3362.98   -0.38
 Peru sol                             3.365   -0.30
 Argentina peso (interbank)         44.5000   -0.07

 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; 
Editing by Sandra Maler)
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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