Latin American stocks were mixed, with Brazilian shares climbing on bargain hunting, while Mexican shares slumped, in line with Wall Street. Argentine issues continued to sell-off on concerns over the new Economy Minister’s ability to contain inflation.
Brazil’s Bovespa Index jumped 294.00 points, or 0.94%. Mexico’s benchmark Bolsa Index lost 141.16 points, or 0.84%, while Argentina’s Merval Index sank 23.05 points, or 1.48%.
Brazilian stocks gained ground, as investors went in search of bargains following a pause yesterday in the market’s recent run-up. Shares have been supported lately by expectations for low inflation and a continued decline in interest rates from their lofty perch.
In corporate news, mining company Vale do Rio Doce said it has acquired 93% of the outstanding common shares of Canadian nickel miner Canico Resources. CVRD also said it has extended its offer to December 8 to give Canico shareholders who have not tendered their shares additional time to review it.
Meanwhile, oil giant Petrobras was in focus after Brazil’s National Economic Development Bank lent the company US$ 1.3 billion to finance construction of four new large offshore oil rigs. The new platforms will have production capacity between 140,000 and 180,000 barrels a day.
Shares of budget airline Gol climbed after an influential investment bank started coverage of the company’s stock at "outperform," citing the company’s strong foothold in the low-cost airline market.
Elsewhere, Mexican shares slumped, in line with the U.S. market, as investors took some profits following recent strong gains. Some investors opted to stick to the sidelines ahead of the U.S. employment report on Friday.
In local developments, Mexican President Vicente Fox said he expects Mexico’s economy to continue to grow at a pace of about 4% next year. He added that he does not expect next year’s presidential elections to impede growth.
"Today, Mexico has the ability to both carry out an electoral process and maintain the course of the country’s economy," Fox said.
On the corporate front, media conglomerate Televisa said late yesterday that it hopes to capture 5% to 7% of Spanish audience shares with its Gestora de Medios Audiovisuales venture, of which Televisa has a 40% stake.
Argentine stocks sank, extending yesterday’s sell-off, as investors continued to fret over the economic implications of Mondays’s (November 28) cabinet shuffle.
Monday, the government announced that President Kirchner will replace Economy Minister Lavagna with Felisa Miceli, currently president of state-owned Banco de La Nacion. A number of investors are concerned over whether she has enough experience to contain inflation.
Thomson Financial Corporate Group – www.thomsonfinancial.com