EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico, Chile stocks dip after weekly surge

* Easing global growth fears back gains

* Focus on U.S. data could support further gains

* Brazil’s Bovespa up 0.34 pct, Mexico’s IPC off 0.24 pct

(Updates to close)

By Brad Haynes and Michael O’Boyle

SANTIAGO/MEXICO CITY, March 25 (Reuters) – Latin American
stocks closed out their best week since November on Friday even
as investors booked some of the week’s strong gains.

The MSCI Latin American stocks index (.MILA00000PUS: Quote, Profile, Research) edged
up 0.03 percent after a six-session rally.

Mexican and Chilean stocks pulled back but they still
notched their best week since 2009. Chile’s index surged above
6 percent and Mexico’s IPC rose nearly 4 percent.

Analysts and traders said the strong gains pushed investors
to book profits ahead of the weekend.

Easing concerns that global growth will be hit by natural
and nuclear crises in Japan and rising oil prices due unrest in
the oil-rich Middle East and North Africa could allow investors
to focus on a series of U.S. economic data due next week.

“Economic data could keep coming out well and help the
rally continue. Most of the U.S. data next week should come out
strong” said Gerardo Copca, a strategist at consultancy
MetAnalisis.

Mexico’s IPC index (.MXX: Quote, Profile, Research) gave up 0.24 percent, finding
resistance around 36,900, below its 50-day simple moving
average.

Leading losses in Mexico City were shares of leading
retailer Walmex (WALMEXV.MX: Quote, Profile, Research), down 1.11 percent. Mining company
Grupo Mexico (GMEXICOB.MX: Quote, Profile, Research) lost 1.62 percent.

Santander cut its recommendation on Grupo Mexico to “hold”
from “buy,” noting the company had cut its 2011 copper
production guidance by 7 percent.

Santander is also expecting higher energy costs to crimp
economic growth and slow copper demand.

Chile’s IPSA index (.IPSA: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 0.18 percent after hitting
resistance at its 200-day simple moving average. It failed to
break that level earlier this month and then saw a 7.5 percent
slide.

“The IPSA had fallen so far that this week saw interest in
some very attractive prices,” said Raul Barros, senior analyst
at BBVA Chile. “The stocks getting hit the hardest are the ones
that have done the best during the week, so you know there is
some profit-taking there.”

Stocks remain vulnerable to further downturns, he noted.
“Next week we’ll have to see if there’s a proper consolidation
over 4,500 points before we can say we’ve seen a change in
trend.”

But gains over the rest of the week still put the index on
track for its best week in 22 months.

Retailer Cencosud (CEN.SN: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 1.59 percent in the
afternoon, with industrial conglomerate Copec (COP.SN: Quote, Profile, Research) down
0.47 percent.

Brazilian equities outperformed regional peers on Friday,
with the Bovespa index (.BVSP: Quote, Profile, Research) up 0.34 percent, and touched its
highest intraday level in two weeks.

“The Brazilian bourse has suffered quite a bit this year,”
said Roni Lacerda, a fund manager with Mercatto Investimentos
in Rio de Janeiro.

Corporate earnings reports over the next few sessions
should give the index more upward momentum, as well, Lacerda
said.

Already those fourth-quarter results have helped some
companies. Shares of Brasil Foods (BRFS3.SA: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 0.2 percent,
after the company reported a 16-fold increase in net income in
the fourth quarter of last year. [ID:nN24191263]

Oil companies also rose, with heavyweight Petrobras
(PETR4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research) advancing 0.74 percent and OGX (OGXP3.SA: Quote, Profile, Research) 1.02
percent.

(Additional reporting by Luciana Lopez in Sao Paulo; Editing
by Diane Craft)

EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico, Chile stocks dip after weekly surge