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EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil equities lead gains as Lula loses in court

SAO PAULO, April 5 (Reuters) - Latin American equities posted large gains across the board on Thursday, following Wall Street amid more benign international trade talk, and led by Brazil's Bovespa index that also benefited from a key Supreme Court decision.

Brazil's top court early on Thursday rejected former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's plea to avoid prison while he appeals a corruption conviction, a vote that likely ends his political career and hobbles any possible campaign for an October presidential election.

Lula is Brazil's most popular politician, but is feared by investors for his redistributive policies and his belief in heavy state involvement in the economy. The corruption conviction likely bars him from running, and his imprisonment, which could happen within a week, would make campaigning all but impossible.

Brazil's Bovespa climbed 1.67 percent, while the country's real currency rose 0.44 percent, the only significant move in Latin American currency markets.

The region's markets were also supported by less bellicose rhetoric from international leaders on ongoing trade tiffs.

Larry Kudlow, U.S. President Donald Trump's top economic advisor, said the United States and China were involved in a "negotiation" rather than a trade war, while China said the effective date of its planned tariffs on U.S. exports depended on when U.S. action took effect.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered a positive assessment of North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, saying the talks were "moving forward in a significant way." Analysts at multiple Mexican brokerages said optimism over a possible quick NAFTA resolution was supporting the nation's benchmark IPC index, which climbed 1.28 percent.

Chile's benchmark IPSA index also jumped 1.44 percent, as the country's dominant export, copper, climbed more than 1 percent on easing trade tensions.

While gains were generally well spread, about 20 percent of the IPSA's gain was due to LATAM Airlines Group SA, whose shares climbed 3.7 percent after Morgan Stanley raised its price target on the stock.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1615 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1166.98 0.98 -0.24 MSCI LatAm 3090.96 2.14 7.01 Brazil Bovespa 85765.82 1.67 12.26 Mexico IPC 48065.67 1.28 -2.61 Chile IPSA 5622.81 1.44 1.05 Chile IGPA 28120.68 1.3 0.50 Argentina MerVal 31638.16 1.02 5.23 Colombia IGBC 11858.20 1.24 4.29 Venezuela IBC 5841.09 8.03 362.43 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.3255 0.44 -0.37 Mexico peso 18.1400 -0.23 8.59 Chile peso 602.9 -0.07 1.95 Colombia peso 2789.86 0.05 6.89 Peru sol 3.227 -0.09 0.31 Argentina peso 20.1850 -0.02 -7.85 (interbank) Argentina peso 20.45 0.73 -5.97 (parallel) (Reporting by Gram Slattery, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)