Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- The Bovespa index added to a weekly gain as slower Brazilian inflation boosted the outlook for companies that sell in the local market and higher commodities prices lifted producers.
Cia. Brasileira de Distribuicao Grupo Pao de Acucar, Brazil’s biggest retailer, was the best performer on the gauge after its fourth-quarter net income of 361 million reais ($210.6 million) exceeded analysts’ forecasts. The MSCI Brazil/Consumer Staples index jumped the most among 10 industry groups. OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes SA and Petroleo Brasileiro SA followed crude higher.
The Bovespa climbed 0.1 percent to 66,203.50 at the close of trading in Sao Paulo, extending the gain this week to 3.4 percent for Brazil’s benchmark equity measure. Forty-one stocks increased on the gauge today, while 25 fell. The real added 0.1 percent to 1.7139 per U.S. dollar. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 raw materials added 0.4 percent.
“We’re seeing very positive signs on the inflation front, and the central bank will probably take the opportunity to further lower interest rates,” Rogerio Freitas, a partner at hedge fund Teorica Investimentos, said by phone from Rio de Janeiro. “Economic data released in the U.S. this week were a little better than expected, which could be a positive sign for the global economy.”
Consumer prices in Brazil as measured by the IPCA-15 index increased 0.53 percent through mid-February, the national statistics agency said today. The measure was expected to rise 0.56 percent, according to the median forecast of 46 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The yield on the Brazilian interest-rate futures contracts due in January 2013 fell four basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, to 9.18 percent.
Pao de Acucar jumped 5.7 percent to 79.20 reais, the highest since the company’s initial public offering in 1995.
Crude climbed as signs of an improving U.S. economy and progress on a bailout for Greece bolstered the outlook for fuel demand.
The index of U.S. leading indicators rose in January for a fourth month, signaling the world’s largest economy will keep expanding through the first half of 2012. A separate report from the Labor Department yesterday showed applications for unemployment insurance payments dropped 13,000 in the week ended Feb. 11 to 348,000.
In Europe, officials closed in on a deal to unlock a 130 billion-euro ($171 billion) aid package for Greece, seeking to avert the region’s first sovereign default.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos discussed efforts to secure a second Greek bailout in a conference call today and are confident that the region’s finance ministers will “find a solution for open questions” on Feb. 20, Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s chief spokesman, said in a statement.
OGX, the oil company controlled by billionaire Eike Batista, rose 2 percent to 17.65 reais, and Petrobras, as Petroleo Brasileiro is known, advanced 0.7 percent to 24.05 reais.
Lupatech SA, Brazil’s biggest provider of oil equipment and services, surged 14 percent to 5.92 reais on speculation it has become a takeover target. Odebrecht SA, a Brazilian construction and chemicals conglomerate that also makes oil platforms, is seeking to buy Lupatech, O Estado de S. Paulo columnist Sonia Racy said on the newspaper’s website today, without saying where she got the information.
Lupatech declined to comment in an e-mailed response to questions. Odebrecht Oleo e Gas, the oil equipment and services division of Odebrecht, doesn’t have any “concrete” plans to make acquisitions at this time, the company said in an e-mailed response to questions. The company is “constantly studying” growth opportunities, it said.
The Bovespa has advanced 17 percent this year, after slumping 18 percent in 2011, 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 10.5 times analysts’ earnings estimates, which compares with a ratio of 10.6 for MSCI Inc.’s measure of 21 developing nations’ equities, weekly data compiled by Bloomberg
Traders moved 6.42 billion reais in stocks in Sao Paulo today, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That compares with a daily average of 6.59 billion reais this year through Feb. 7, according to data from the exchange.
--Editors: Richard Richtmyer, Glenn J. Kalinoski
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