April 24, 2009 / 8:49 PM / 10 years ago

Mexico stocks surge despite flu outbreak, peso hit

(Adds closing prices)

MEXICO CITY, April 24 (Reuters) - Mexican stocks surged on Friday, boosted by reassuring earnings reports and data in the United States despite news a deadly flu strain never seen before has broken out in Mexico.

The peso MXN= MEX01 weakened 0.63 percent to 13.284 per dollar at the central bank's final reference, hit by a wave of profit taking after rising more than 1 percent in early trade, while the IPC stock index .MXX rose 3.45 percent to 22,582.17.

Gains in stocks came even as the World Health Organization warned of a deadly flu virus that has killed as many as 60 people in Mexico, raising fears the infection is spreading across North America. [nN24524032]

Traders said news of the outbreak was not hurting the peso but one market analyst did not rule out that some investors made bets against the peso on the flu news, on worries a severe outbreak could have an economic impact.

“Tourism could be hurt to a certain extent,” said Nick Chamie, head of emerging markets research at RBC Capital Markets in Toronto, who specified that he was not seeing any signs of foreign exchange flows related to investors pulling out of Mexico.

The peso has been bouncing in a range between 13 per dollar and 13.40 per dollar in recent weeks after rallying by around 17 percent from a 16-year low hit in March, partly boosted by Mexico’s decision to access massive credit lines from the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Supporting equity markets, struggling automaker Ford Motor Co (F.N) said on Friday it was on track to at least break even in 2011, while U.S. data showed durable goods orders fell far less than Wall Street expected in March while inventories of single-family homes plummeted at a record pace.

Signs of economic stabilization in the United States bode well for Mexico, which sends around 80 percent of its exports to its northern neighbor.

America Movil (AMXL.MX)(AMX.N), Latin America’s biggest cell phone operator, gained 5.74 percent to 21.92 pesos. The company reports next Tuesday and analysts see a more than 10 percent increase in net profit, according to a Reuters survey of 5 analysts.

Top retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico WALMEXV.MX added 2.99 percent to 39.95 pesos.

Cement maker Cemex (CMXCPO.MX)(CX.N), whose no 1. market is the United States, gained 6.1 percent to 10.78 pesos.

Cemex said on Thursday it reached an agreement with its creditors to extend the majority of its short-term maturities, showing its advancing in its difficult debt renegotiation. [ID:nN23341257] (Reporting by Michael O’Boyle; Editing by Diane Craft)

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