EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks up as index futures expire, Fed eyed

Reuters

* Brazil Bovespa up 1.05 pct, Mexico IPC little changed SAO PAULO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks rose on Wednesday as investors picked up shares of steelmakers and homebuilders, with Bovespa index futures set to expire at the close of the session.

The expirations often create volatility as investors try to push the index above or below strike prices.

Mexico's IPC index remained little changed, while Chile's bourse edged lower.

Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index rose for the second session in three, adding 1.05 percent to 50,614.54.

The index has been rangebound at between 50,000 and 51,000 points for over a week as investors remain in a holding pattern ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision on the future of its monetary stimulus program, expected later on Wednesday.

"The market is stuck, but what drove this rise today was the shifting of positions due to the expiration of index future contracts," said Ariovaldo Santos, a trader with H.Commcor in Sao Paulo.

Shares of electricity distribution firm Eletropaulo soared 15 percent after Brazil's government said it would delay the implementation of a surcharge on electricity rates scheduled for January by a year.

Shares of homebuilder Gafisa SA rose 6.8 percent after company executives on Wednesday said they plan to rein in new projects and expenses next year in a bid to cut debt and boost profitability.

Mexico's IPC index remained little-changed from Tuesday's close, hovering near 41,725 points.

Shares of lender Grupo Financiero Banorte fell 1.1 percent, partially offsetting a 1.5 percent gain in telecommunications firm America Movil.

Chile's IPSA index slipped for the fifth session in six as shares of regional energy group Enersis lose 1.7 percent.

Latin America's key stock indexes at 1739 GMT: Stock indexes Latest daily % YTD % change change MSCI LatAm 3,154.96 -0.37 -16.62 Brazil Bovespa 50,614.54 1.05 -16.96 Mexico IPC 41,725.09 -0.08 -4.53 Chile IPSA 3,661.23 -0.26 -14.88 Chile IGPA 18,048.45 -0.19 -14.34 Argentina MerVal 5,362.59 -1.11 87.88 Colombia IGBC 12,981.06 -0.68 -11.79 Peru IGRA 15,719.62 0.02 -23.80 Venezuela IBC 2,695,213.81 1.52 471.70

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