April 25, 2019 / 3:28 PM / a month ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks fall, Argentina's peso hits record low

    By Aaron Saldanha
    April 25 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks fell across the
board on Thursday, mirroring the concerns about slowing world
growth that affected markets globally, while a firm dollar left
Latin American currencies bruised, with Argentina's peso diving
to a record low.
    Currencies in Latin American lost ground against the dollar,
which at one point reached its highest level since May 2017,
fueled by upbeat data on new orders for U.S.-made capital goods.

    MSCI's index of Latin American stocks fell
0.4%, on the back of losses across the region.        
    Investors jettisoning risky bets sent Argentina's stocks
 3.6% lower, with financials falling especially heavily,
while the peso slumped 5.3% to a record low.
    Dirk Willer, head of emerging market strategy at Citi
Research, and Kenneth Lam, an emerging markets FX strategist,
noted the "significant pressure" on Argentine assets, observing
yawning credit default swap spreads and political uncertainty
from elections scheduled for later this year.
    "A weaker currency and sticky inflation will continue to
undermine (President Mauricio) Macri's candidacy. Needless to
say that markets see the outcome of the elections as binary,
with a return of the old administration potentially amounting to
an eventual default."
    Brazilian stocks dropped 0.1%, as shares of 
financials and materials fell.
    Shares of miner Vale SA declined 1.1%, with a 1%
slide seen in Dalian-traded iron ore futures overnight.
    State-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) was
an outlier, with its common shares and preferred
shares rising 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively. 
   The company's board approved a voluntary employee retirement
program intended to save 3 billion reais ($754 million) over
five years.
    The cheer was capped by news that Petrobras will record a
1.3 billion-real ($326 million) provision in its first-quarter
results because of a dispute with a bankrupt rig lessor.

    Mexican stocks fell 0.5% mainly on losses among
materials and consumer staples, while the peso softened
0.2%.
    First quarter profit at Cemex SAB de CV doubled
but still fell short of analysts' expectations. The cement
maker's shares slid 1.5%.
    Chile's peso fell 0.6%, tracking a drop in the price
of copper, the country's top export. Stocks
fell 0.8%.           
    
    Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1426 GMT
    
 Stock indexes                                    daily %
                                      Latest       change
 MSCI Emerging Markets                  1074.01     -0.97
 MSCI LatAm                             2722.55     -0.44
 Brazil Bovespa                        94917.74     -0.13
 Mexico IPC                            44819.55      -0.5
 Chile IPSA                             5158.78     -0.82
                                                 
 Argentina MerVal                      28672.81     -3.61
 Colombia IGBC                         12950.78     -0.25
                                                         
 Currencies                                       daily %
                                                   change
                                         Latest  
 Brazil real                             3.9608      0.63
 Mexico peso                            19.0600      0.04
 Chile peso                                 677     -0.62
 Colombia peso                          3234.64     -0.48
 Peru sol                                 3.331     -0.24
 Argentina peso (interbank)             46.2500     -4.91
                                                 
 


($1 = 3.9769 reais)

 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru)
  
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