Mexico Has Record in Sight, if U.S. Cooperates

The Wall Street Journal, 1/6/09

Mexican stocks rose to an all-time high Tuesday before reversing course and closing lower as investors turned cautious with the U.S. stock market in the red. The benchmark IPC index of 35 leading issues fell 0.1% at 32732.76. The index hit 33073.71 intraday, passing its previous intraday record of 32851.14 in October 2007.

Optimism about an economic recovery in the U.S. and Mexico had given stocks a positive start to the year, with the IPC gaining 2% Monday on the first trading day. But after disappointing data on pending home sales in the U.S., the investor mood in Mexico dimmed.

Still, Mexico’s stocks could extend their gains in the first quarter after surging 44% last year if economic reports show a robust recovery in the U.S. and Mexico that will boost corporate earnings. Mexico is more heavily influenced by the U.S. than any other Latin American country. The U.S. buys 80% of Mexico’s exports and employs millions of migrant laborers who send home billions of dollars each year.

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