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While Waiting for Interest Cuts Bulls Have Party in Brazil

Latin American markets turned notably higher, following two consecutive down days in Brazil and Mexico, partly due to profit-taking.

Today, bargain hunters moved in to pick up the beaten down shares. Brazilian investors are awaiting next week’s interest rate meeting, while Mexican investors cheered today’s 50-point basis cut in the overnight rate.

Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa Index rallied 441.72 points, or 1.36%, while Mexico’s benchmark Bolsa Index surged 343.46 points, or 2.00%. Argentina’s Merval Index rose 9.75 points, or 0.64%.

Brazilian shares bounced back from recent weakness, and thanks to a steep decline in crude oil prices, which tends to pressure the net importer of the commodity. Investors are looking forward to next Wednesday’s central bank meeting in which an interest-rate cut is expected.

In today’s economic reports, the IBGE census bureau said that the official IPCA consumer price inflation rate slowed to 0.55% in November from 0.75% in October, in line with analyst expectations.

The most recent result pulled the 12-month rolling IPCA inflation rate to 6.22%, compared with 6.36% the 12 months through October. Meanwhile, inflation from January through November reached 5.31%.

CVRD advanced, after the mining firm said it completed its takeover of Canada’s Canico Resource. On a down note, state-run oil firm Petrobras receded, after the firm’s transportation unit, Transpetro, extended a December 15 deadline by two weeks to receive proposals of companies pre-qualified for a tender to build 26 oil-industry support vessels.

Within the telecom group, wireless operator Claro, the local unit of Mexico’s America Movil, will resume operations in Minas Gerais, after a local court overturned an injunction that forced the firm to stop operations. Rival Telemig Celular argued a conflict of interest.

In Mexico, shares reached a fresh record high close. The central bank announced a 50-basis-point cut in the overnight rate, which will allow it to fall as far as 8.25%. The corto will remain at 79 million pesos. Most analysts were expecting a smaller 25-point easing.

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry reported a US$ 637 million trade deficit in October, widening from the previously reported US$ 631 million gap. Lower petroleum exports than previously recorded was blamed for the revision.

In corporate news, America Movil surged, after a major investment bank reiterated the firm as its top wireless pick for Latin America.

Argentine investors came back from yesterday’s Immaculate Conception holiday in a buying mood. Gains were modest, as volume was low.

In economic reports, the national statistics agency said that the jobless rate fell to 11.1% in the third quarter from 12.1% in the second quarter, in line with preliminary data released a few weeks ago.

Thomson Financial Corporate Group – www.thomsonfinancial.com

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