December 26, 2018 / 9:39 PM / a month ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks buoyed by Wall St rebound, FX slips against strong dollar

 (Recasts, updates prices, adds market strategists' quotes)
    By Agamoni Ghosh
    Dec 26 (Reuters) - Most Latin American indexes rose on
Wednesday, tracking the rebound in U.S. equities and oil prices
on a day when many global exchanges remained closed for Boxing
Day, while currencies in the region weakened against a stronger
dollar.  
    The dollar gained a robust 0.5 percent as U.S. stocks came
off 20-month lows, pushing MSCI's index of Latin American
currencies down 0.6 percent, with Argentina's
peso leading losses.
    Stocks on Wall Street gained more than 4 percent on
Wednesday, but uncertainty relating to the U.S. government
shutdown and Federal Reserve monetary policy still weighed on
investor sentiment. 
    "Trading conditions remain light and investors remain
somewhat cautious, watching closely for more U.S. political
headlines," said Nick Bennenbroek, a currency strategist at
Wells Fargo in New York, said in a note.
    The Chilean stock market was one of the biggest
gainers, driven by the commodity sector, but Chile's currency
 fell 0.5 percent, hovering around two-month lows. 
    Stocks in Mexico lost for most of the trading session
but reversed course in the last hour to close 0.5 percent
higher, while the peso treaded water. 
    Buenos Aires' Merval stock index also rose, with
shares of energy companies leading gains as oil prices posted
their strongest daily rise in more than two years.
    Brazil's Bovespa index was one of the few stock
market losers in the region, hitting a near two-month low as
gains by energy companies were offset by losses in bank and
consumer stocks.
    Shares of Brazilian appliance retailer Via Varejo
fell as much as 6 percent after its chief executive was
unexpectedly replaced with the head of its controlling
shareholder.
    Vale lost 0.8 percent as iron ore in China
advanced amid a surge in steel demand before the Lunar New Year.


    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2115 GMT
        
 Stock indexes                             daily %     YTD %
                               Latest       change    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets            950.15      0.02    -17.98
                                                    
 MSCI LatAm                      2488.69     -0.83       -12
                                                    
 Brazil Bovespa                 85136.10     -0.65     11.43
                                                    
 Mexico IPC                     41644.67      0.64    -15.62
                                                    
 Chile IPSA                      5062.78      0.64      0.64
                                                    
 Argentina MerVal               28473.44      0.06     -5.30
                                                    
 Colombia IGBC                  11141.52      2.14     -2.02
                                                    
                                                            
 Currencies                                daily %     YTD %
                                            change    change
                                  Latest            
 Brazil real                      3.9219     -0.07    -15.52
                                                    
 Mexico peso                     19.8985      0.03     -1.00
                                                    
 Chile peso                        693.5     -0.20    -11.37
                                                    
 Colombia peso                    3282.5      0.27     -9.15
 Peru sol                          3.372     -0.59     -4.00
                                                    
 Argentina peso (interbank)      38.5700     -1.48    -51.78
                                                    
 

 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; additional reporting
by Karen Brettell; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
  
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