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Promises of Low Interest Rates in the US Give Boost to Brazilian Stocks

Brazilian stocks rallied, with that country’s shares getting a boost from investor relief that U.S. economic growth data did not appear to worsen the outlook for U.S. interest rates. Mexican issues gained amid a flood of earnings reports from local companies.

Brazil’s Bovespa Index jumped 611.98 points, or 1.54%, while Mexico’s benchmark Bolsa Index climbed 255.57 points, or 1.25%, and Argentina’s Merval Index surged 39.36 points, or 2.11%.

Brazilian stocks posted solid gains, as a smaller-than-expected rise in U.S. gross domestic product in the first quarter helped to ease fears that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates more than anticipated. Higher U.S. rates tend to draw investment away from emerging markets like Brazil.

In corporate news, oil giant Petrobras Petróleo Brasileiro SA said it completed the purchase of Royal Dutch Shell distribution and retail assets in Colombia.

Brazilian electric-power holding company Energias do Brasil SA posted a three-fold increase in its first-quarter earnings.

CVRD shareholders approved the company’s 2-for-1 stock split proposal. Shareholders of record May 19 will receive two shares for each common or preferred Class A share on May 22. Holders of CVRD’s ADRs will also receive an additional share for each share held.

On the economic front, Brazilian Central Bank President Henrique Meirelles said that Brazil’s fight against inflation was not over. "People tell me that interest rates are still high and I tell them that I agree. But the central bank must make monetary policy in light of overall economic conditions," he said.

Mexican issues regained their record-breaking title, as shares surged today following a bout of profit-taking. Strong corporate reports helped propel Mexico higher on the day. Grupo Mexico strongly advanced on word it may sell its majority stake in Southern Copper Corp.

Femsa’s first-quarter net profit jumped to 1.10 billion pesos from 756.0 million pesos a year earlier, while revenue advanced 15% to 27.53 billion pesos.

Elsewhere in earnings, Arca advanced, after the soft-drink bottler posted a 20% jump in its first-quarter net profit to 406.3 million pesos from 338.6 million pesos last year. Sales rose 12% to 3.36 billion pesos. The firm’s operating profit surged 40.5% to 633.2 million, while Ebitda reached 807.1 million pesos, a 30.6% gain from a year ago.

Brewer Grupo Modelo said that higher sales and operating gains bolstered its first-quarter results. The brewer saw net profit climb to 1.9 billion pesos from 1.57 billion pesos a year ago. Sales advanced 12% to 12.45 billion pesos, while Ebitda rose 14.2% to 4.15 billion pesos year-over-year.

Within the telecom group, a major investment bank upgraded Telmex to "buy" from "hold." The firm posted a 12.8% rise in its first-quarter net profit to 7.59 billion pesos; although, sales slipped 0.4% to 41.56 billion pesos. Ebitda edged down 2.8% to 18.82 billion pesos.

Turning to financials, banking group Grupo Financiero Inbursa said that weak results at its banking unit pressured its first quarter results. The firm’s net profit arrived at 1.04 billion pesos, down from last year’s 1.36 billion pesos.

Grupo Televisa SA said that higher sales and lower financing costs helped to more than double its first-quarter net profit to 1.29 billion pesos when compared to a year ago. Sales rose 13.3% to 7.46 billion pesos on a 28% advance in operating profit to 2.18 billion pesos.

Argentina took part in the broader market rebound, following three- straight days of declines. Brazilian state-run oil firm Petrobras, which debuted on the local Argentine exchange on Thursday, April 27, helped boost local issues.

In economic news, the national statistics agency, or INDEC, said that industrial production rose 7.2% in March compared to the year-ago result.

Thomson Financial – www.thomsonfinancial.com

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