EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks gain with US data, Petrobras

* Better-than-forecast US jobs data boosts Latam markets

* Brazil stocks lag as strong GDP triggers rate fears

* Petrobras jumps 4 pct on massive stock offering plan

(Updates to afternoon trade)

By Walter Brandimarte

NEW YORK, Sept 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Latin American stocks rose on
Friday on better-than-expected U.S. jobs data, with oil giant
Petrobras supporting the performance of Brazil’s main stock
index.

Shares of the Brazilian state-owned oil company jumped more
than 4 percent after it launched a massive stock offering.
Still, the benchmark Bovespa index lagged the region as
Brazil’s surprisingly strong second-quarter GDP growth stoked
fears of higher rates.

Chilean stocks recorded intraday highs as commodity prices
jumped, improving the economic outlook of the copper-exporting
country.

“The (U.S.) jobs data was the big variable this week, and
since it came out positive, I think it encouraged and relieved
investors, and so we’ve seen a fairly strong local market,”
said Paulina Barahona, an analyst with Cruz del Sur brokerage
in Santiago.

The MSCI stock index for Latin America (.MILA00000PUS: )
gained 0.98 percent to 4,141.23, its highest intraday level in
nearly a month.

Brazil’s Bovespa index (.BVSP: ) climbed a modest 0.3
percent, supported by Petrobras shares (PETR4.SA: ), which jumped
4.67 percent to $28.89.

Earlier in the day, the company announced details of a plan
to to sell up to $64.5 billion in new shares, removing part of
the uncertainty that had dragged on its stock price during the
past few months. For details, see [ID:nN03214360].

Fears of further monetary tightening ahead weighed on the
Bovespa index, however, after a government report showed the
economy grew 8.8 percent year-on-year in the second quarter,
above forecasts for an 8 percent expansion.

Compared to the first quarter, the Brazilian economy grew
1.2 percent, more than the 0.7 percent expected by
economists.[ID:nN03239813]

“Strong activity shows that the probability of a new cycle
of interest rate hikes next year is higher,” said Marianna
Costa, an economist with Link Investimentos.

In an apparent bid to calm down investors, Brazil’s central
bank president Henrique Meirelles said the monetary authority
is “completely comfortable” with the pace of economic growth.

The central bank now expects the Brazilian economy to grow
about 0.7 percent on average in the third and fourth quarters
of the year, Meirelles told reporters. [ID:nN03120030]

In Mexico, the IPC stock index (.MXX: ) climbed 0.8 percent
to 32,682, its highest intraday level since Aug. 11. Shares of
Wal-Mart Mexico (WALMEXV.MX: ) rose 0.88 percent and accounted
for the largest gain in the index.

A report showing U.S. payrolls fell less than expected in
August eased concerns about a double-dip recession and greatly
benefited Mexico, whose economy is closely tied to the United
States.

Traders in Mexico City said gains moderated, however, after
a second report showed the U.S. non-manufacturing sector grew
less than expected in August, slowing down from the previous
month.

The Chilean blue-chip IPSA index (.IPSA: ) gained 0.52
percent to an intraday all-time high, boosted by shares of
retailers such as Falabella (FAL.SN: ), up 1.7 percent, and
Cencosud (CEN.SN: ), 1.9 percent higher.
(Additional reporting by Alvaro Tapia in Santiago, Silvio
Cascione in Sao Paulo; Editing by Andrew Hay)
([email protected]; +1 646 223-6319;
Messaging: [email protected]))

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks gain with US data, Petrobras