February 7, 2018 / 10:36 AM / 18 days ago

Latin American equities stabilize as Wall Street shakes rout

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Latin American equities markets were steady or in the black across the region on Wednesday, as traders showed cautious optimism after an equities rout on Wall Street appeared to putter out.

Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index .BVSP showed little change, down 0.03 percent in afternoon trade, while Chile's benchmark IPSA .IPSA jumped 0.44 percent.

Among major regional equities markets, only Mexico’s IPC .IBC was significantly in the red, falling 0.17 percent after government data showed a contraction in investment in November.

Argentina's small and volatile Merval index .MERV led gains, popping 2.65 percent, due to optimism about the end of a slide in major markets as well as an ongoing rally in local energy stocks.

“The U.S. market stopped sliding, and that helped the Merval,” said one Buenos Aires-based trader. “The recovery in the short-term could last a few days.”

    Among currency markets, the Chilean peso CLP=CL was the major winner, jumping 0.87 percent after the central bank posted a January trade surplus of $1.21 billion, up 7 percent from the previous year as prices for key export copper CMCU3 improved.

    The Mexican MXN=D2 and Argentine ARS=RASL peso currencies, as well as the Brazilian real BRBY, all slumped fairly modestly, thanks to a strengthening global dollar .DXY.

    Reporting by Gram Slattery; Additional reporting by Walter Bianchi in Buenos Aires; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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