EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks choppy, volatility seen ahead

* Violence in oil-producing regions weighs

* Japan radiation worries becoming clearer

* Brazil’s Bovespa up 0.3 percent

* Mexico’s IPC eases 0.04 percent

By Luciana Lopez and Denise Luna

SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO, March 28 (Reuters) – Latin
American stocks seesawed in early trading on Monday as ongoing
violence in oil-producing regions and Japanese radiation fears
kept investors uncertain about riskier assets.

The MSCI Latin American stocks index (.MILA00000PUS: Quote, Profile, Research) fell
0.05 percent after having last week notched its biggest weekly
percentage gain since last November.

“We’re in a time of pronounced volatility,” said Andre
Perfeito, an economist with Gradual Investimentos in Sao
Paulo.

Equities worldwide have seen elevated volatility lately, as
they’re considered riskier than some other assets, such as
U.S. Treasuries.

Violence continued in the oil-rich Middle East and North
Africa, with rebels advancing in Libya, Syrian forces opening
fire to disperse protestors and Yemen talks on a transition
government stalling. [ID:nLDE72R009], [ID:nLDE72R0JA] and
[ID:nLDE72R0XJ]

Recent unrest in that region has buoyed petroleum prices to
2-1/2-year highs, sparking fears of faster inflation around the
world and a potential drag on global economic growth.

In addition, while fears of a nuclear catastrophe in
earthquake- and tsunami-hit Japan have abated somewhat, the
world’s third-biggest economy will grapple with the
after-effects of those natural disasters and of subsequent
damage to nuclear reactors for some time.

Highly radioactive water has leaked from a reactor at
Japan’s crippled nuclear complex, the plant’s operator said on
Monday, while environmental group Greenpeace said it had
detected high levels of radiation outside an exclusion zone.
[ID:nL3E7ES0F3]

“This is all very uncertain and a lot to think about, and
this translates into prices by way of volatility,” Perfeito
said. “There could be some space for profit-taking today.”

Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index (.BVSP: Quote, Profile, Research) seesawed in
and out of negative territory but advanced 0.3 percent near
mid-day. The index rose further from its 200-day simple moving
average, which had provided support in recent sessions and held
the index from falling more.

Shares of mining company Vale (VALE5.SA: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 0.09 percent
on continued uncertainty about the fate of chief executive
Roger Agnelli and who might replace him, as well as worries
about the payments of back royalties the government says Vale
owes.

“All this noise that’s been going on is affecting the
stock, it’s not just Roger (Agnelli), the market already sees
(his departure) as a certainty, but there’s who comes in,
there’s the question of royalties,” said Pedro Galdi, the chief
analyst for SLW Corretora in Sao Paulo.

On the upside, shares of Itau Unibanco (ITUB4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research), the
country’s largest private-sector bank by assets, moved up 0.98
percent.

Mexico’s IPC index (.MXX: Quote, Profile, Research) eased 0.04 percent after choppy
early trading, after posting its best weekly advance last week
since December 2009.

Shares of America Movil (AMXL.MX: Quote, Profile, Research), one of the world’s
biggest telecommunications companies, rose 0.24 percent.

Chile’s IPSA index (.IPSA: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 0.31 percent, although
remaining within its range of the past two sessions.

Retailer Falabella (FAL.SN: Quote, Profile, Research) gave up 0.58 percent, leading
losses in Santiago.

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks choppy, volatility seen ahead