The Ibovespa fell as concern that Brazil’s credit rating will be cut offset a surprise increase in retail sales and a rally by power utilities.
State-controlled oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR3) snapped a two-day winning streak. Energias do Brasil SA climbed the most on the BM&FBovespa Electric Energy Index as concern eased that utilities’ profits will be hurt by a drought that has cut production of hydroelectric power.
The Ibovespa retreated 1 percent to 45,421.84 at 2:30 p.m. in Sao Paulo. Forty-eight stocks fell on the gauge while 24 gained. The real lost 0.2 percent to 2.3601 per dollar. Brazil’s central bank President Alexandre Tombini and directors will meet today with Standard & Poor’s analysts.
“Investors fear that the agencies are preparing to downgrade Brazil,” Fernando Goes, an analyst at the brokerage firm Clear Corretora, said in a phone interview from Sao Paulo. “The increase in retail sales and industrial production earlier this week are not enough to change the perception that the economy is still weak.”
Brazil’s retail sales increased 0.4 percent in January from a month earlier, according to data from the national statistics bureau. The median estimate among 40 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a decline of 0.3 percent. Industrial production climbed 2.9 percent.
Petrobras, as Petroleo Brasileiro is known, lost 1.4 percent to 13.14 reais. Vale SA (VALE), the world’s largest iron-ore producer, declined 1.3 percent to 26.11 reais. The MSCI Brazil/Materials index retreated 0.9 percent.
Standard & Poor’s placed Brazil’s rating on negative outlook in June, and Moody’s Investors Service in October lowered its outlook to stable from positive, citing deteriorating debt and evidence of slow growth.
Finance Minister Guido Mantega announced on Feb. 20 a reduction of 44 billion reais ($18.7 million), or 4.2 percent, in budgeted expenditures for this year as Brazil acts to shore up fiscal management. Economists covering Brazil lowered their forecast for the country’s growth this year to 1.68 percent from a previous estimate of an advance of 1.7 percent, according to the central bank’s weekly survey released March 10.
Energias do Brasil rose 3.7 percent to 9.15 reais, its highest intraday price since Feb. 28. The power utilities index gained 1.6 percent. Brazil’s government will announce aid for power distributors this afternoon, said an official briefed on the plan who asked not to be identified, citing internal policy.
“Utilities have been suffering a lot with prospects of lower revenue and higher costs, so the government saying they may help them is making stocks recover a little,” Antonio Goes, a senior analyst at the brokerage firm TOV Corretora, said in a phone interview from Rio de Janeiro.
The Ibovespa (IBOV) has tumbled 19 percent from a bull-market high on Oct. 22 as inflation exceeded policy makers’ target and concern mounted that higher government spending will lead to a reduction in the country’s credit rating.
Trading volume of stocks in Sao Paulo yesterday was 6.2 billion reais, compared with a daily average of 6.33 billion reais this year, according to data from the exchange.
To contact the reporter on this story: Denyse Godoy in Sao Paulo at email@example.com