By Bruno Federowski
SAO PAULO, May 3 Brazilian stocks fell on
Wednesday following a mixed batch of corporate earnings and
ahead of a key vote on an overhaul of the country's pension
system in Congress.
The benchmark Bovespa stock index slipped 0.9
percent after rising 2 percent on Tuesday, with many traders
taking a cautious stance as a congressional committee prepared
to vote on the planned pension reform.
Investors see reduced pension spending as crucial to efforts
to rein in public debt and pull Brazil out of its deepest
recession in decades.
Shares of lender Itaú Unibanco Holding SA
subtracted the most points from the index after rising defaults
kept it from cutting loan-loss provisions as much as investors
expected in the first quarter.
Traders were also disappointed by Itaú's net income, which
came in only slightly above analyst forecasts. Many had bet on
stronger figures after earnings by rival Santander Brasil SA
handily beat expectations.
Shares of payment processor Cielo SA also slumped
as declining revenues fueled concerns over its outlook despite
The Brazilian real treaded water, in line with other
Latin American currencies. Still, traders expect the currency to
remain volatile in coming months on fears that lawmakers could
block key austerity measures, a Reuters poll showed.
The Mexican peso fell 0.2 percent, while the
Colombian peso was flat. Traders have avoided big bets in
recent days ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy decision later
on Wednesday and key U.S. jobs data on Friday.
The Fed is expected to keep rates stable but potentially
hint at a June hike. Higher U.S. rates tend to weigh on emerging
market assets, which often lure investors with the promise of
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1605 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % YTD %
MSCI Emerging Markets 985.60 -0.26 14.6
MSCI LatAm 2649.27 -0.49 13.74
Brazil Bovespa 66198.51 -0.78 9.91
Mexico IPC 49188.20 -0.81 7.77
Chile IPSA 4842.53 -0.73 16.65
Chile IGPA 24305.46 -0.66 17.22
Colombia IGBC 10188.87 -0.21 0.60
Currencies daily % YTD %
Brazil real 3.1469 0.15 3.25
Mexico peso 18.7980 -0.19 10.35
Chile peso 668.6 -0.06 0.31
Colombia peso 2928.9 0.34 2.48
Peru sol 3.25 -0.06 5.05
Argentina peso (interbank) 15.2250 0.53 4.27
Argentina peso (parallel) 15.84 0.82 6.19
(Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Tom Brown)