May 3, 2019 / 3:11 PM / a year ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks, currencies jump after U.S. jobs data

    By Agamoni Ghosh
    May 3 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks and currencies
rallied on Friday as robust labor data from the United States
calmed nerves over fears of sluggish global growth, days after
the U.S. Federal Reserve cast doubt on any possible interest
rate cuts for 2019.
    MSCI's index of Latin American stocks jumped
1 percent, with most regional indices climbing, led by Brazil's
Bovespa. But shares in Colombia's IGBC lagged.  
    U.S. job growth surged in April and the unemployment rate
dropped to a more than 49-year low of 3.6 percent, pointing to
sustained strength in economic activity even as last year's
massive fiscal stimulus fades.
    "The very strong U.S. labor report has provided the lift we
see today along with slightly better numbers from Europe
indicating that the global slowdown may not be as dramatic,"
said Christian Lawrence, senior market strategist, LatAm FX at
    "But there is of course the argument now that we may not see
any more rate cuts from the Fed this year given the economic
data is so strong."   
    Fed Chairman Jerome Powell indicated earlier in the week
that the central bank was neither looking to hike nor cut
borrowing costs, describing the U.S. economy and job growth as
"a bit stronger than anticipated."     
    Sao Paulo-traded stocks rose 0.6 percent, led by
material stocks and Via Varejo <VVAR3.SA > after the Brazilian
retailer proposed to change its corporate bylaws.
    Itau Unibanco Holding fell after setting lower
targets for 2019, despite a higher first-quarter recurring
profit as it sees fiercer competition for consumers.

    Mexican stocks  edged up after eight straight
sessions of losses, while the peso moved about half a
percent higher. 
    Chile's peso rose 0.6 percent, tracking a gain in the
price of copper, the country's top export, while stocks
on the IPSA index eased off their lowest levels
since the beginning of the year. 
    Argentina's peso softened, while stocks rose
over 2 percent, largely boosted by financials.
 Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1455 GMT
 Stock indexes                        daily %    YTD %
                             Latest    change   change
 MSCI Emerging Markets       1083.46     0.42    11.73
 MSCI LatAm                  2742.62     1.06     5.76
 Brazil Bovespa             96219.12     0.72     9.48
 Mexico IPC                 44410.60     0.22     6.65
 Chile IPSA                  5173.19     0.61     0.61
 Argentina MerVal           31727.80     2.96     4.74
 Colombia IGBC              12624.63    -0.28    13.29
 Currencies                           daily %    YTD %
                                       change   change
 Brazil real                  3.9378     0.52   -15.86
 Mexico peso                 19.0285     0.45     3.52
 Chile peso                    678.3     0.43    -9.38
 Colombia peso               3238.49     0.54    -7.92
 Peru sol                      3.301     0.27    -1.94
 Argentina peso              44.4500     0.78   -58.16

 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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