February 23, 2018 / 5:56 PM / a month ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Mexican equities fall during otherwise quiet day

    SAO PAULO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Mexican stocks led losses
across Latin America on Friday as poor economic growth figures
there pushed the benchmark IPC index down almost 1 percent
during an otherwise quiet day in the region.
    Early on Friday, Mexico's national statistics agency said
gross domestic product in Latin America's second biggest economy
expanded 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous
three-month period, below expectations. 
    The industrial sector in particular posted weak figures,
contracting 0.1 percent quarter-on-quarter, crimped by a decline
in oil production.
    "It's a big miss. The Mexican economy seems to be slowing
down," said Benito Berner, an analyst at Nomura Securities in
New York.
    The IPC had fallen 0.7 percent in morning trade, with
Coca-Cola Femsa SAB de CV posting the biggest
percentage decline on the index. The bottler was trading off 4.4
percent after reporting a fourth-quarter loss of over $1 billion
on Thursday. 
    Other equities markets in the region were essentially flat.
    "The last stretch of the week sees markets without a defined
trend, and with moderate price movements. That's not surprising
in a week in which there was a deepening decrease in
volatility," Buenos Aires-based consultancy Portfolio Personal
wrote in a note to clients.
    Equities in the region's largest economy, Brazil, fell
slightly after credit ratings agency Fitch announced in the
early afternoon that it had downgraded the country's credit
rating to BB- from BB after Brazil's Congress failed to put a
social security overhaul to a vote.
    Still, Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index was roughly
even on the day overall, thanks in part to a steady morning
boosted by solid earnings by electronics retailer Magazine Luiza
SA and energy provider Engie Brasil Energia SA
     Shares in Magazine Luiza had jumped 6.1 percent in
afternoon trade, after the tech-savvy retailer shattered
fourth-quarter profit estimates and announced a share buyback
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1725 GMT: 
 Stock indexes                           daily %     YTD %
                             Latest       change    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1215,59      1,22      3,66
 MSCI LatAm                    3148,11      0,25     11,04
 Brazil Bovespa               86616,48     -0,08     13,37
 Mexico IPC                   48631,00     -0,69     -1,47
 Chile IPSA                    5718,88     -0,13      2,77
 Chile IGPA                   28684,85     -0,09      2,52
 Argentina MerVal             33007,34     -0,35      9,78
 Colombia IGBC                11907,63      0,32      4,72
 Venezuela IBC                 5175,95     10,55    -83,67
 Currencies                              daily %     YTD %
                                          change    change
 Brazil real                    3,2374      0,32      2,34
 Mexico peso                   18,5500      0,32      6,19
 Chile peso                      591,3      0,20      3,95
 Colombia peso                 2845,25      0,45      4,81
 Peru sol                        3,251     -0,12     -0,43
 Argentina peso                19,9600      0,00     -6,81
 Argentina peso                   20,1     -0,15     -4,33

 (Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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