EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks at 2-wk high, Brazil dips

* Bovespa index fails to break key resistance level

* Chilean stocks hit more than 1 month high

* Rumors of Vale CEO exit weigh on stock

* Brazil’s Bovespa falls 0.39, Mexico’s IPC up 0.89 pct

By Luciana Lopez and Michael O’Boyle

SAO PAULO/MEXICO CITY, March 24 (Reuters) – A gauge of
Latin American stocks rose to a two-week high on Thursday after
a recent slump, but Brazilian shares fell after the country’s
main index failed to break a key level and local earnings
disappointed.

The MSCI Latin American stocks index (.MILA00000PUS: Quote, Profile, Research) rose
0.37 percent, after turning positive for the month in the
previous session.

Investors bought riskier assets around the world, including
Latin American equities, as the nuclear crisis in tsunami- and
earthquake-struck Japan appeared to be more stable and concerns
about the impact of Libya’s conflict on oil prices eased.

“The intervention in Libya has reduced worries, and in
Japan fears about the reactors are also less,” said Gonzalo
Fernandez, a stock strategist at Santander in Mexico City.

Nevertheless, uncertainty about the medium- and long-term
global recovery kept some investors hesitant.

“The market is trying to find a direction,” said Guilherme
Sand, a stock trader with Solidus Corretora in Porto Alegre,
Brazil. Many investors are holding their breath until more
decisive information, he said.

Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index (.BVSP: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 0.39
percent, falling back from resistance around 68,000 points. The
market has tried and failed to hold gains above that level four
times in the last two months.

Still, analysts in a Reuters poll saw Brazil’s index
gaining another 13 percent by year-end, buoyed by the domestic
economy. [ID:nN22301286]

Shares of mining company Vale (VALE5.SA: Quote, Profile, Research), the world’s
largest producer of iron ore, fell 0.99 percent. Media reports
have suggested the government is intensifying a campaign to
push out chief executive officer Roger Agnelli following years
of tensions between the firm and state leaders.

Shares MRV Engenharia (MRVE3.SA: Quote, Profile, Research), the largest Brazilian
low-income homebuilder, shed 6.52 percent after it reported
worse than expected fourth-quarter results and the company said
it expects to see a tight labor market pressuring earnings this
year.

“Other builders are down on the expectation that they’ll
have poor numbers, too,” said Espirito Santo Investment Bank
senior economist Flavio Serrano.

Shares of JBS (JBSS3.SA: Quote, Profile, Research), the world’s biggest beef
producer, dropped 3.62 percent. The company reported a
fourth-quarter net loss of 539.3 million reais ($325 million),
after logging a profit of 127.9 million reais in the last
quarter of 2009. [ID:nN2499681]

Mexico’s IPC (.MXX: Quote, Profile, Research) advanced 0.89 percent to 36,872 to an
almost three week high.

Mexican stocks have been in a downtrend since falling off a
record high in January, but they have rebounded close to 4
percent from a nearly 5-month low in the past three sessions.

“If they confirm that the situation in Japan is under
control, this could mark a change in the trend,” Santander’s
Fernandez said.

Chart analysts said the IPC would have to rise well above
37,000 points to break out of the descending channel on its
chart and suggest stocks could see sustained gains.

Financial group Banorte (GFNORTEO.MX: Quote, Profile, Research) added 2.11 percent.

Chile’s IPSA index (.IPSA: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 0.91 percent as the
bourse broke a key resistance to reach one-month highs.

Conglomerate Copec (COP.SN: Quote, Profile, Research) advanced 1.34 percent.

($1=1.659 reais)
(Additional reporting by Brad Haynes in Santiago)

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks at 2-wk high, Brazil dips