EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks fall as U.S. data fuels worries

* Petrobras hit by worries about oil-for-shares plan

* Weak Philly Fed factory poll, U.S. jobless claims weigh

* Bovespa down 0.93 pct, Mexico’s IPC down 1.15 pct

MEXICO CITY/SAO PAULO, Aug 19 (BestGrowthStock) – Latin American
stocks dropped in afternoon trading on Thursday as an increase
in U.S. jobless claims and a dip in U.S. regional manufacturing
fueled fears about the world’s biggest economy.

The MSCI Latin American stock index (.MILA00000PUS: ) lost
1.47 percent after closing nearly flat in the previous session.
The Thomson Reuters Latin America total return index
(.TRXFLDLATU: ) fell 0.94 percent.

First-time U.S. jobless claims hit a nine-month high last
week, as mid-Atlantic factory activity contracted in August for
the first time since July 2009. [ID:nN19350083]

The United States is a major influence on Latin America and
consumes the lion’s share of Mexican exports.

The U.S. data rattled markets around the world, with
investors fleeing to safe havens such as U.S. Treasuries and
gold. [ID:nN19251784]

Latin American currencies also weakened in the global wave
of risk aversion. [ID:nN19215832]

“I don’t see a double-dip recession outlook in the United
States,” said Newton Rosa, chief economist at SulAmerica
Investimentos in Sao Paulo. “But I also don’t see a recovery. I
see things stagnating.”

Brazil’s Bovespa index (.BVSP: ) slipped 0.93 percent, as the
index’s most heavily-weighted stock, preferred shares of
Petrobras (PETR4.SA: ), got pummeled on fears the government
could determine a higher-than-expected value for oil reserves
to be used in a oil-for-shares capital plan.

A consulting firm hired by the government has valued oil
reserves to be used in Petrobras’ capital plan at $10-$12 per
barrel, well above estimates of $5-$6 per barrel, local media
reported. [ID:nN19191978]

The valuation will be used to determine how many shares
Petrobras will need to pay the government to develop offshore
fields.

“Chances are now that the final price will benefit the
Federal Government only and be detrimental to Petrobras,” wrote
Banif Securities in a note to clients, adding that a
disagreement could lead the government to postpone the deal
until next year.

The preferred shares lost 2.6 percent, as common shares of
Petrobras (PETR3.SA: ) sank 3.36 percent.

Steelmakers also fell. Gerdau (GGBR4.SA: ) moved down 2.43
percent, Usiminas (USIM5.SA: ) dropped 1.42 percent and CSN
(CSNA3.SA: ) lost 0.55 percent.

Mexico’s IPC stock index (.MXX: ) dropped 1.15 percent. The
IPC has shed more than 2 percent since Aug. 6 amid fears that
U.S. could tip back into a double-dip recession.

Analysts said further stock price declines could lead major
stock indexes in the U.S. and Latin America to break through
key technical levels, spurring further losses.

Wal-Mart de Mexico (WALMEXV.MX: ), the country’s top
retailer, fell 1.08 percent and America Movil (AMXL.MX: ),
billionaire Carlos Slim’s flagship telecommunications firm,
declined 1.04 percent.

Top U.S. cement provider Cemex (CMXCPO.MX: ) retreated 2.15
percent to trade near a one-year low hit on Monday.

Chile’s IPSA index (.IPSA: ) slid 0.35 percent as top airline
LAN (LAN.SN: ) fell 2.26 percent as regulators looked into a
proposed merger with Brazil’s TAM (TAM.N: )(TAMM4.SA: ).
(Reporting by Michael O’Boyle in Mexico City, Luciana Lopez in
Sao Paulo and Brad Haynes in Santiago, Editing by Chizu
Nomiyama)

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks fall as U.S. data fuels worries