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EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX strengthens, Brazil shares buck global gloom

By Susan Mathew Feb 8 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies firmed against a steady dollar on Friday, while shares of top lenders bolstered Brazilian stocks, which were on course to rise for the first time in four VEsessions.

Chile's peso rose 0.4 percent and led gains among regional currencies, while the Colombian peso tracked oil prices higher.

Christian Lawrence, a senior market strategist at Rabobank, attributed the day's currency moves to a bit of squaring up of positions heading into the weekend.

Brazil's real was down slightly after gaining earlier in the session, while the Mexican peso was up 0.2 percent, extending gains from the previous session when it rose after the country's central bank held the benchmark borrowing rate steady.

"Overall, the statement did nothing to change our view that Banxico is likely to remain on hold for the remainder of this year before cutting rates in the first half of 2020," Lawrence said, adding that if sustained peso weakness were to emerge, there is potential for one 25 basis points hike this year.

But, Lawrence says the rally in regional currencies may not sustain through the day as "we might get a dollar rally and that should result in some weakness in Latam currencies. " "But, its going to be within muted ranges. I don't expect any large currency moves today," he said.

Even as markets sagged worldwide amid worries of a global economic slowdown and the unlikelihood of a quick resolution of the U.S.-China trade dispute, Brazil shares were up 0.6 percent.

Financial shares drove gains on the Bovespa stock index, which rose for the first time in four sessions. The index, however, was still set for its steepest weekly loss since November, after six consecutive weeks of gains.

Lender Itau Unibanco Holding provided the biggest boost, up 2.1 percent. Banco Bradesco rose after its board of directors registered a proposal to raise the bank's capital by 8 billion reais ($2.15 billion) with a stock bonus of two new shares for every 10 held by investors.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1417 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 1036.84 -0.49 MSCI LatAm 2860.57 0.53 Brazil Bovespa 95003.54 0.63 Mexico IPC - - Chile IPSA 5396.76 -0.56 Argentina MerVal - - Colombia IGBC - - Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 3.7176 -0.20 Mexico peso 19.0558 0.18 Chile peso 655.65 0.33 Colombia peso 3110.04 0.17 Peru sol - - Argentina peso - - (interbank) ($1 = 3.7125 reais) (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru;)