Rising Foreign Investment Lifts Brazilian Stocks

Brazilian investors were encouraged by a strong day on Wall Street and new economic data while Mexican stocks closed higher for a second- consecutive session, as investors took advantage of recent weakness to go bargain hunting.

Brazil’s Bovespa Index surged 914.50 points, or 2.72%. Mexico’ benchmark Bolsa gained 374.93 points, or 2.11%, while Argentina’s Merval rose 29.15 points, or 1.88%.

Brazilian stock prices increased their gains today, as investors reacted positively to current-account figures released by the Brazilian Central Bank (BC).

Brazil posted a May current-account surplus of US$ 475 million, up from US$ 241 million in April. The central bank said foreign direct investment in May was US$ 1.58 billion, up from US$ 790 million in April.

Amid the volatility in global stock markets in recent weeks, Wall Street tends to influence the Ibovespa strongly. Despite today’s gains, analysts expect investors to remain cautious ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting next week.

In corporate reports, airline Varig canceled more than a third of its daily flights yesterday, following the approved sale of the firm to the TGV consortium this past Monday.

Elsewhere, Mexican stocks were higher, alongside upbeat economic data. After a bout of selling that knocked 24% off the IPC in just over a month, the market has fluctuated on modest volume.

In economic headlines, the National Statistics Institute, or Inegi, said that unemployment declined to 2.9% in May, compared with 3.3% in April and 3.3% a year ago.

Meanwhile, shares of media group Televisa ended higher; the company is among concerns planning to bid, along with several partners, for U.S. Spanish- language broadcaster Univision.

Elsewhere, Argentine shares tracked other Latin American issues higher today on Wall Street’s strong performance, as investors greeted positive earnings reports that eased recent interest-rate and inflation woes.

Meanwhile, French retail group Carrefour has filed a complaint in Argentina against the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and others, claiming it paid too much for the supermarket chain Norte Supermarkets in 2001 as the result of fraud.

Carrefour and its Argentine unit alleged Norte’s accounts were inflated by at least US$ 120 million, raising the acquisition price of US$ 253 million by 40%.

Thomson Financial – www.thomsonfinancial.com

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