Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The Bovespa stock index rose for a sixth day, the longest winning streak in six months, as Petroleo Brasileiro SA surged after saying it will replace its chief executive officer with its natural-gas and energy chief.
Petrobras, as Petroleo Brasileiro is known, rose to the highest price in almost eight months after saying Maria das Gracas Foster will take over from Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli. The oil company made the biggest contribution for the index’s advance. Itau Unibanco Holding SA, Latin America’s biggest bank by market value, led declines by companies that benefit from credit growth on speculation policy makers will slow the pace of interest-rate cuts in Brazil.
The Bovespa added 0.1 percent to 62,386.24 at the close of trading in Sao Paulo. Forty-six stocks fell on the index, while 21 advanced. The real was little changed at 1.7550 per U.S. dollar.
“Gabrielli couldn’t stay at Petrobras forever, and the choice of Gracas Foster to replace him signals there won’t be any disruption in the policies the company has adopted in the past few years,” Joao Pedro Brugger, who helps oversee 80 million reais ($46 million) at Leme Investimentos in Florianopolis, Brazil, said by phone.
Foster ran the company’s fuel distribution unit before heading the gas and energy division.
Petrobras jumped 3.8 percent to 25.13 reais, the highest since May 4.
Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA, Brazil’s second- biggest steelmaker, gained 1.7 percent to 11.67 reais as prices of industrial metals advanced and investors bet the purchase of a stake by the Techint Group may improve management.
Julian Eguren, the executive president of Techint’s Ternium SA unit in Mexico, was named Usiminas’s chief executive officer last week, replacing Wilson Brumer. The change will likely improve administration, said Rafael Weber, who helps manage about 7 billion reais at Geracao Futuro Corretora in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
The Bloomberg Base Metals 3-Month Price Commodity Index rose 1.4 percent.
The Bovespa earlier fell as much as 0.6 percent as yields on most interest-rate futures contracts rose after a central bank survey economists covering Brazil increase their forecast for economic growth in 2013.
Brazil’s gross domestic product will grow 4.25 percent in 2013, according to the median forecast in a Jan. 20 central bank survey of about 100 economists published today. That compared with an estimate of 4.2 percent the previous week. Policy makers will cut the benchmark Selic rate to 9.75 percent by April, compared with a forecast of 9.50 percent a week earlier, the survey showed.
Itau fell 1.9 percent to 36.40 reais.
The Bovespa has advanced 9.9 percent this year, buoyed by Brazil’s interest-rate cuts, signs of growth in the U.S. and renewed optimism Europe may be closer to solving its debt crisis. The gauge trades at 9.9 times analysts’ earnings estimates, which compares with the ratio of 10.1 for MSCI Inc.’s measure of 21 developing nations’ equities, weekly data compiled by Bloomberg show. Brazil’s benchmark equity gauge sank 18 percent in 2011.
Traders moved 6.14 billion reais in stocks in Sao Paulo today, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That compares with a daily average of 6.49 billion reais in 2011, according to data from the exchange.
--With assistance from Juan Pablo Spinetto in Rio de Janeiro. Editors: Richard Richtmyer, Brendan Walsh
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