May 2, 2017 / 11:46 PM / 8 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks jump as protests fail to dent reform hopes

 (Recasts with rise in stocks in Brazil and in Chile)
    SAO PAULO, May 2 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks jumped on
Tuesday as traders bet that recent protests will not hinder
government efforts to conduct labor and pension reforms, while
Chile's bourse rose on higher copper prices. 
    Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index closed 2.02 percent
higher, supported by banks such as Banco Bradesco SA
and Itau Unibanco Holding SA that offset slumping
shares in planemaker Embraer SA.
    Brazilian protesters torched buses, clashed with police in
several cities and marched on President Michel Temer's Sao Paulo
residence late last week amid the nation's first general strike
in more than two decades.
    Unions called the strike to voice anger over Temer's efforts
to push austerity measures through congress, bills that would
weaken labor laws and trim a generous pension system.
    But Temer and members of his center-right government
denounced the strike as a failure, and traders said on Tuesday
the clashes are unlikely to stall proposed reforms.
    World No. 1 copper producer Chile's leading index posted its
biggest daily rise in more than a month as miners tracked gains
in the price of the metal.
    Expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will hold
interest rates steady on Wednesday generally
encouraged bets on emerging markets, said Gerardo Copca, an
analyst with MetAnalisis.
    In Mexico, the IPC stock index rose 0.66 percent on
surging shares of airport operators Asur and GAP
 after they both posted strong first-quarter results.
    Many companies that missed expectations in the first quarter
because of fewer calendar days are expected to make up for it in
the second quarter, when the Holy Week holiday falls this year,
potentially helping companies that rely on consumer demand.
    Latin American markets on Tuesday also adjusted to trades
made in New York on Monday, when local bourses were closed for
International Workers' Day.
    Local currencies seesawed on Tuesday, with the real
 ending the day 0.68 percent higher. 
    Economists expect the Fed to hint that it could tighten
monetary policy in June, according to a Reuters poll of
economists, which could make local currencies less attractive.

    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2000 GMT:
 Stock indexes                               daily %    YTD %
                                              change   change
 MSCI Emerging Markets               988.19     0.86     14.6
 MSCI LatAm                         2662.32     1.67    13.74
 Brazil Bovespa                    66721.75     2.02    10.78
 Mexico IPC                        49588.84     0.66     8.65
 Chile IPSA                         4878.12     1.73    17.51
 Chile IGPA                        24466.31     1.57    18.00
 Argentina MerVal                  21157.45     0.65    25.06
 Colombia IGBC                     10210.63     0.12     0.81
 Venezuela IBC                     57682.34    -0.02    81.93
 Currencies                                  daily %    YTD %
                                              change   change
 Brazil real                         3.1534     0.68     3.16
 Mexico peso                         18.763    -0.18     9.55
 Chile peso                           668.2    -0.23     0.00
 Colombia peso                      2945.45    -0.19     1.90
 Peru sol                             3.239     0.12     3.47
 Argentina peso (interbank)          15.295     0.62     3.65
 Argentina peso (parallel)            15.92     0.13     5.35

 (Reporting by Mitra Taj and Noe Torres; Editing by Jonathan
Oatis and Leslie Adler)
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