The following companies may have unusual price changes in Latin American trading. Stock symbols are in parentheses and share prices reflect the previous close.
The MSCI Latin America Index gained 0.6 percent to 4,438.38.
Alto Palermo SA (APSA AF): The country’s largest shopping- mall operator had its foreign currency rating raised to B at Standard & Poor’s. The shares were unchanged at 15.40 pesos.
IRSA Inversiones y Representaciones SA (IRSA AF): The real estate developer and shopping mall operator had its foreign currency rating raised to B at Standard & Poor’s. The shares fell 0.8 percent to 6.3 pesos.
Transportadora de Gas del Sur SA (TGSU2 AF): The Buenos Aires-based natural gas transport company had its foreign currency rating raised to B at Standard & Poor’s. The shares fell for the sixth day, tumbling 3.3 percent to 4.15 pesos.
Petrobras Argentina SA (PESA AF): The local unit of Brazil’s state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA had its foreign currency rating raised to BB- at Standard & Poor’s. The shares gained 0.7 percent to 9.47 pesos.
Cia. de Bebidas das Americas (AMBV4 BS): Latin America’s largest brewer, known as AmBev, gained 0.8 percent to 244.98 reais. Shareholders approved a stock split that gives investors five shares for each common or preferred share they hold, according to a regulatory filing.
Cia. de Concessoes Rodoviarias (CCRO3 BS): Brazil’s biggest toll-road operator jumped 3.3 percent to 46 reais, the biggest advance since Nov. 30. The company’s board approved the sale of 817.4 million reais ($477 million) of local bonds by its Vialco Concessoes Rodoviarias unit, according to a regulatory filing.
Contax Participacoes SA (CTAX4 BS): The provider of call- center services named Michel Sarkis as chief executive officer. Sarkis will replace James Meaney, who resigned from the post, according to a regulatory filing. The shares were unchanged at 30.5 reais.
Cosan SA Industria & Comercio (CSAN3 BS): The world’s biggest sugarcane processor climbed 0.3 percent to 25.69 reais. Hedge-fund managers and other large speculators increased their net-long position in New York sugar futures in the week ended Dec. 14, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data.
Hypermarcas SA (HYPE3 BZ): The fourth-largest consumer goods company by market value said it agreed to buy Mantecorp Industria Quimica e Farmaceutica SA. The shares gained 0.6 percent to 24.65 reais.
JBS SA (JBSS3 BS): JBS, the world’s biggest beef producer, rose 1.5 percent to 7 reais. Sara Lee Corp., the maker of Jimmy Dean breakfast foods and Ball Park hotdogs, is examining whether to sell itself to meat processor JBS, according to the Wall Street Journal. Mike Cummins, a spokesman for Sara Lee, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. An e-mail to the investor relations director at JBS wasn’t immediately returned.
Lupatech SA (LUPA3 BS): The biggest provider of oil equipment and services signed two contracts with Eide Marine Semi AS worth $899 million, to lease two vessels for ten years, according to a regulatory filing. The shares jumped the most in more than two weeks, advancing 3.3 percent to 19.48 reais.
Marcopolo SA (POMO4 BS): The largest bus maker forecast consolidated net sales of 3.15 billion reais ($1.8 billion) in 2011. The company plans to invest 70 million reais and reach output of 29,300 buses next year, according to a regulatory filing. The shares jumped 3.1 percent to 7.04 reais.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4 BS): The state-controlled oil company signed contracts with shipbuilder Delima to lease two vessels. The vessels are expected to be delivered by December 2017, Petrobras said in an e-mailed statement. Petrobras shares gained the most since Dec. 1, adding 2.3 percent to 25.94 reais and breaking a three-day slump.
Vale SA (VALE5 BS): Iron ore supplies from Brazil may be hampered next month because of early rains, Macquarie Group Ltd. said in a report, citing “anecdotal evidence.” Vale, the world’s biggest exporter of iron ore, fell for a fourth day, sliding 0.1 percent to 49.86 reais.
Colombia’s industrial production increased 2.7 percent in October from a year earlier, the national statistics agency reported. Economists expected a 3.5 percent increase, according to the median estimate of 19 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Cementos Argos SA (CEMARGOS CB), Colombia’s biggest cement maker, rose 0.5 percent to 11,680 pesos. Grupo Odinsa SA (ODINSA CB), the Bogota-based engineering and construction company, jumped 3.1 percent to 8,000 pesos. Inversiones Argos SA (INVARGOS CB), the owner of Colombia’s biggest cement company, was unchanged at 20,900 pesos.
Almacenes Exito SA (EXITO CB): The largest publicly traded retailer advanced 0.5 percent to 23,800 pesos. The country’s retail sales rose 15 percent in October from a year earlier, the national statistics agency reported. Economists had forecast a 15 percent increase, according to the median estimate of 19 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Retailers: The national statistics agency will announce October retail sales today. Economists forecast a 4.8 percent increase from the same month last year, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Separately, the Labor Ministry announced that the country will raise its minimum wage by 4.1 percent next year.
Grupo Elektra SA (ELEKTRA* MM), the retail and banking company controlled by billionaire Ricardo Salinas, gained for the fifth time in six days, advancing 0.6 percent to 520.37 pesos. Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB de CV (WALMEXV MM), Latin America’s largest retailer, added 0.5 percent to 35.74 pesos.
OHL Mexico SAB (OHLMEX* MM): The local unit of Spanish construction company Obrascon Huarte Lain SA will receive a loan of as much as 650 million pesos ($52.3 million) to build a highway in the state of Puebla, according to a statement to Mexico’s stock exchange. The shares fell for the ninth day, sliding 0.1 percent to 23.17 pesos.
Copper producers: Hedge-fund managers and other large speculators increased their net-long position in New York copper futures in the week ended Dec. 14, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data. Speculative long positions outnumbered short positions by 30,268 contracts on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the report showed.
Candente Copper Corp. (DNT PE), a Canadian exploration company, fell 2.1 percent to $1.40. Southern Copper Corp. (SCCO PE), Peru’s biggest copper producer, gained 0.3 percent to $46.52. Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde SA (CVERDEC1 PE), a unit of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., rose 0.3 percent to $48.01.
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