May 24, 2019 / 3:08 PM / 3 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam assets mark time, set to end week higher

    By Aaron Saldanha
    May 24 (Reuters) - An index of Latin American stocks marked
time on Friday, on course to post a solid weekly gain, as did
Latin American currencies, which held ground against the dollar.
    Investor sentiment towards the region has been marred this
week by a worsening of U.S.-China trade ties amid Alphabet Inc's
 Google suspending some business with Chinese telecom
giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd early this week.
    China's economy - the world's second largest - influences
Latin American markets as its factories buy a large portion of
the continent's resources exports.    
    Markets were set to end the week in positive territory on
hopes U.S.-China trade talks will resume, Banorte Research Chief
Economist and Head of Research Gabriel Casillas wrote in a note,
citing U.S. President Donald Trump hinting on Thursday Huawei
could be included in some form of a trade deal.
    MSCI's index of Latin American stocks was 
flat, but on track to post a 2.5% weekly gain, its first weekly
rise since April. MSCI's Latin American currencies index
 was set to add 0.6% for the week.
    Brazil's real edged firmer, while Sao Paulo-traded
stocks tacked on 0.4%, supported by gains among
materials and energy stocks.
    State-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) saw
its common shares and preferred shares
rise 0.7% and 1.1% , respectively, as Brent crude futures
 started their recovery following Thursday's 4.6%
drubbing.
    Vale SA rose 2.8%, after Bank of America Merrill
Lynch boosted its rating and price target on the miner's
U.S.-listed shares to "Buy."
    Mexican stocks slid 0.4%, while the peso
softened 0.1%.
    Latin America's second-largest economy contracted in 2019's
first quarter, from the previous three-month period, in a blow
to the new government's drive to convince investors it can boost
growth.
    International investor sentiment toward Mexico has softened
of late. U.S.-domiciled investors have yanked about $262 million
in total from a commonly traded Mexico-focused equity ETF
 over the three weeks ended Wednesday, Lipper estimates
show.
    Chile's peso rose 0.4%, supported by a gain in the
price of copper, the country's top export and a
commodity which is greatly exposed to slowing Chinese growth.
    
    Argentina's stocks rose 0.5%, while the peso
firmed marginally.
    Colombia's peso firmed 0.7%, while local stocks
 tacked on 0.6%, with oil firm Ecopetrol SA up
0.3% on firmer oil prices.

    Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1437 GMT
    
 Stock indexes                                    daily %
                                      Latest       change
 MSCI Emerging Markets                   988.64      0.39
 MSCI LatAm                             2596.54      0.01
 Brazil Bovespa                        94277.20      0.39
 Mexico IPC                            42638.30     -0.41
 Chile IPSA                             4909.43      0.32
                                                 
 Argentina MerVal                      34564.11      0.54
 Colombia IGBC                         12057.53      0.57
                                                         
 Currencies                                       daily %
                                                   change
                                         Latest  
 Brazil real                             4.0317      0.37
 Mexico peso                            19.0585     -0.11
                                                 
 Chile peso                               694.2      0.37
 Colombia peso                           3355.7      0.59
 Peru sol                                 3.342      0.21
 Argentina peso (interbank)             44.9800      0.24
                                                 
 
 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrea
Ricci)
  
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