5 Min Read
* China exports grow at fastest pace in five months
* U.S. 'fiscal cliff' and Greece aid weigh on markets
* Mexico IPC trading suspended after open
By Asher Levine and Danielle Assalve
SAO PAULO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks were flat on Monday with concerns over fiscal problems in the United States and Europe offsetting positive economic data from China, the region's important trade partner.
The MSCI Latin American stock index was nearly unchanged at 3,589.79 after the index found support at its 125-day simple moving average, a level it has not closed below in two months.
Brazil's Bovespa remained flat, while trading on Mexico's IPC index was suspended shortly after opening, with traders citing technical problems.
Data released over the weekend showed exports in China - Brazil's biggest trading partner and buyer of Latin American iron ore, soy, copper and petroleum - grew at their strongest pace in five months in October.
Still, investors remained concerned over the "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax increases which could go into effect in the United States early next year unless Congress reaches a deal on deficit reduction. Worries over the possible economic damage from such a measure contributed to the worst drop in Latin American stocks in nearly six months last week.
"The China data shows a recovery in economic activity and reinforces the expectation for that trend to continue," said Felipe Rocha, an analyst with Omar Camargo Corretora in Curitiba, Brazil. "But the market continues to be wary of the U.S. fiscal cliff and the situation in Greece, which still hasn't been resolved," he said.
Euro zone finance ministers will meet later on Monday to discuss Greece's progress on controlling its debts though they are not expected to release a new tranche of funding despite Athens approving a tough 2013 budget on Sunday.
Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index was little-changed at 57,360.36 points.
Preferred shares of steelmaker Usiminas rose 2.8 percent while common shares added 3 percent after Goldman Sachs Group analysts raised their recommendation for both to "buy" from "neutral".
Homebuilders MRV Engenharia and Cyrela fell 2.25 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. Brazilian homebuilders likely saw net income decline in the third quarter as cooling demand forced some to slash new projects and step up marketing expenses, according to analysts in a Reuters survey. .
Energy generator CESP fell 4.4 percent after the company's chief financial officer resigned on Friday, when the company posted third-quarter results that were in-line with expectations. The company did not disclose a reason for the executive's departure.
UBS analysts said in a report on Monday that the resignation suggests a tail risk of CESP accepting the negative terms of a government concession extension at low tariffs.
Brazil's stock market will be closed on Thursday and on Nov. 20 for national holidays.
"We could see more volatility in the coming days, considering we have the holidays and the expiration of index options next Monday," Rocha added.
Chile's IPSA index fell for the fourth straight session, losing 0.26 percent to 4,226.94, a level the index has not closed below in six weeks.
Industrial conglomerate Copec fell 0.8 percent, contributing most to the index's losses, while regional energy group Enersis slipped 1.3 percent.
Latin America's key stock indexes at 1433 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % YTD %
Latest change change MSCI LatAm 3,589.79 -0.05 -0.3
Brazil Bovespa 57,330.90 -0.05 1.02
Mexico IPC 40,680.87 suspended 9.72
Chile IPSA 4,226.94 -0.26 1.18
Chile IGPA 20,692.86 -0.21 2.80
Argentina MerVal 2,379.85 -0.42 -3.36
Colombia IGBC 14,304.94 -0.05 12.94
Peru IGRA 21,067.52 0.1 8.19
Venezuela IBC 367,247.75 -0.29 213.79
(Additional reporting by Cesar Bianconi; Editing by Grant McCool)