Brazilian shares continued upward to set a record closing high in the final day of 2004 trading, as the market is closed on Friday. Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa Index added 34.94 points, or 0.13%.
Brazilian shares advanced to another all-time closing high, ending the year on a strong note, as investors remained optimistic regarding the country’s outlook for 2005.
Late yesterday, Brazil’s government cleared its final hurdle of this year when Congress gave final approval to a 481 billion real federal budget for 2005.
Along with 481 billion reais in projected revenues, the legislation backed Wednesday foresees 358 billion in total federal spending and 78 billion in transfers to states and municipalities.
Also, Finance Minister Antonio Palocci rolled out a list of the government’s economic priorities for next year, including plans to lower payroll taxes, cut red tape for businesses and grant the central bank formal autonomy.
Such reforms could keep investment flowing and the economy expanding even if Brazil’s current export boom wanes.
In other news, according to a study by local consulting firm Economatica, Brazilian phone companies shed an average of 5.7% of their book value this year, while the main Ibovespa stock market index strengthened 17.6%.
Economatica stated that the weak performance by telecom firms, which make up 31.8% of the companies listed on the index, prevented further gains in the Ibovespa.
Thomson Financial Corporate Group
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