Most Latin American indexes rose on Wednesday, tracking the rebound in US equities and oil prices on a day when many global exchanges remained closed for Boxing Day, while currencies in the region weakened against a stronger dollar.
The dollar gained a robust 0.5 percent as US stocks came off 20-month lows, pushing MSCI’s index of Latin American currencies down 0.6 percent, with Argentina’s peso leading losses.
Stocks on Wall Street gained more than 4 percent on Wednesday, but uncertainty relating to the US government shutdown and Federal Reserve monetary policy still weighed on investor sentiment.
“Trading conditions remain light and investors remain somewhat cautious, watching closely for more US political headlines,” said Nick Bennenbroek, a currency strategist at Wells Fargo in New York, said in a note.
The Chilean stock market was one of the biggest gainers, driven by the commodity sector, but Chile’s currency fell 0.5 percent, hovering around two-month lows.
Stocks in Mexico lost for most of the trading session but reversed course in the last hour to close 0.5 percent higher, while the peso treaded water.
Buenos Aires’ Merval stock index also rose, with shares of energy companies leading gains as oil prices posted their strongest daily rise in more than two years.
Brazil’s Bovespa index was one of the few stock market losers in the region, hitting a near two-month low as gains by energy companies were offset by losses in bank and consumer stocks.
Shares of Brazilian appliance retailer Via Varejo fell as much as 6 percent after its chief executive was unexpectedly replaced with the head of its controlling shareholder.
Vale lost 0.8 percent as iron ore in China advanced amid a surge in steel demand before the Lunar New Year.