Rally Has Ended. Stocks Are Down in Brazil

Latin American shares moved lower amid significant losses in both Brazil and Mexico. Investors remained attentive to volatility as doubts lingered about the trajectory of monetary policy in the U.S. Argentine markets were closed today in observance of Flag Day.

Brazil’s Bovespa Index lost 501.57 points or 1.46%. Mexico’s benchmark Bolsa was down 459.91 points, or 2.55%.

Brazilian shares slid lower as investors continue to question where U.S. interest rates are headed over the next few months. Trading was also dented by an options expiry scheduled for the session.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Trade and Development said that Brazil posted a US$ 654 million foreign trade surplus in the June 12-to-18 period, bringing the trade surplus for the year to date to US$ 17.429 billion. The most recent result is slightly lower than last year’s US$ 17.895 billion.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian Census Bureau, or IBGE, reported that retail sales volume rose a seasonally adjusted 1.52% in April compared to a month prior. The most recent result was also above the average analyst estimate, as polled by the Estado news agency.

In Mexico, stocks were lower following a rally late last week that helped slow nearly a month of heavy losses. Mexican shares fell alongside declines in the U.S., a major trading partner.

The IPC, along with other emerging-market bourses, has suffered from the heavy selloff of the past month as investors priced in the likelihood of U.S. interest rates rising.

But last week the IPC pulled out a rally despite a higher-than-expected pickup in core inflation in the U.S. that reinforced expectations of a rate increase by the Federal Reserve at its next Federal Open Market Committee June 28-29 later this month.

Traders took advantage of the heavy selloff in Mexican equities in May and early June to go bargain hunting for blue chips.

Shares of Mexico’s top retailer, Wal-Mart de Mexico, were lower. A major investment bank added Walmex to its equity model portfolio, staying overweight in Mexico because of its attractive valuations.

Elsewhere, shares of cement maker Cemex were slipped. Cemex said it expects second-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to rise 14% from a year ago.

ICA Fluor, a joint-venture of ICA and Fluor Corp., said it won a US$ 108 million contract to expand and revamp a petrochemical plant owned by a unit of conglomerate Alfa SA.

Thomson Financial – www.thomsonfinancial.com

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