Emerging markets had a good week, boosted by rising risk appetite against a backdrop of buoyant global growth and a peak in US interest rates. In Latin America, the Brazilian BOVESPA rose 4.1% following the first round of the country's presidential elections, in which incumbent president Lula da Silva failed to achieve the majority needed to defeat the opposition candidate, Geraldo Alckman, after corruption allegations cost him votes. The result was generally welcomed by investors who hope it will force Lula to moderate his spending plans in order to ensure victory in the 29 October run off. Also in Brazil, industrial output slowed down in August, providing further evidence that the strong Brazilian currency is beginning to hurt the economy. Elsewhere in the region, Mexico's IPC rose 1.9%, while Argentina's MERVAL was 0.5% higher as Standard & Poor's raised the country's credit rating to B , its highest level in more than five years and a further signal that the Argentine economy is on the road to recovery following 2001's debt default.
Emerging stock markets were mostly lower last week as investor risk aversion rose in response to geopolitical worries and concerns over the US economic outlook. In Latin America, Mexico's IPC fell 0.4% as a Federal court rejected a request from opposition candidate, Manuel Lopez Obrador, for a full recount of last month's presidential election ballots. Although this moved Felipe Calderon, a conservative candidate committed to economic reform, closer to victory, fears remained that left wing protests may intensify and cause further disruption. Brazil's BOVEPSA fell 2.4%, with mixed corporate results adding to uncertainty among investors. Bradesco, Brazil's largest non-state bank, revealed a 13% rise in second quarter profits, but slower growth than previous quarters due to the impact of rising interest rates. Argentina's MERVAL, meanwhile, was 3.9% lower.
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Emerging equities had a mixed week, with some stock markets bucking the downward trend of their developed counterparts, and others succumbing to the negative movement. Brazil's BOVESPA underperformed, shedding 4.4%, as several economists downgraded their 2006 and 2007 growth forecasts for the country. Mexico's IPC also fell (by 0.3%) amid more radical rhetoric from opposition candidate, Manuel Lopez Obrador, over what he would do if Felipe Calderon, a conservative candidate, was announced president. In contrast, Argentina's MERVAL resisted the negative tone and recorded a gain of 1.2%. News that the country's jobless rate had fallen from 11.4% to 10.4% and that industrial production had grown 8.8% year-on-year in July cheered investors.