(Recasts, updates to close)
* Redecard and Petrobras lift Brazil’s Bovespa
* Mexico IPC near flat, Chile IPSA falls 0.34 pct
* Brazil Bovespa rises 1.06 pct
By Roberta Vilas Boas and Michael O‘Boyle
SAO PAULO/MEXICO CITY, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks rose on Tuesday to a nine-month high fueled by optimism that state-controlled oil company Petrobras will beat 2011 output expectations and by gains in card payment processor Redecard.
The MSCI Latin American stock index advanced 0.48 percent to its highest in more than six months, supported by Brazil’s stock exchange’s gains.
The Bovespa has surged 17.5 percent this year, driven by foreign investors who in January poured in an additional 7.2 billion reais ($4.18 billion). The infusion made for the biggest monthly inflow since Brazil adopted the real in July 1994.
“The stock market is holding strong, with a strong inflow of foreign investments coming into Brazil. The news of Redecard’s buyout and the stock’s jump helped spur the market on,” said Jose Goes, an analyst at Rio de Janeiro-based brokerage Stock Asset.
Upbeat economic data from the United States and China, Latin America’s top trading partners, could also help Brazil, which is seen further cutting interest rates, a move that would boost growth there.
Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index advanced 1.06 percent.
Shares of card payment processor Redecard soared 10.49 percent, buoying the index, after Itau Unibanco , Brazil’s largest private-sector lender, unveiled a plan to take the company private.
Shares of rival payment processor Cielo shot up, gaining 4.22 percent on hopes the company may also be a takeover target, traders said.
Itau Unibanco shares added 0.94 percent despite posting weaker-than-expected profits on Tuesday.
Preferred shares of state-controlled oil company Petrobras gained 2.98 percent after departing Chief Executive Jose Sergio Gabrielli said the company will beat its 2011 oil and gas output this year.
Mexico’s IPC index traded nearly flat, edging down 0.08 percent.
Telecommunications group America Movil drove losses in the index, falling 0.58 percent, while bottling group Femsa gained 0.68 percent.
Mexico is trailing far behind Brazil’s 15 percent gain this year, with the IPC up just 2.6 percent. Mexican stocks held up better than Brazil last year, but the IPC has risen close to a record high and looks expensive to many investors.
“There is much more preference for Brazil,” Juan Jose Resendiz, an analyst at brokerage Arka, who sees the potential for a selloff on global stock markets that could send Mexico’s exchange down to support at 36,500 points.
Global markets have been spooked by the possibility of a messy Greek default. A key meeting on a needed bailout package was postponed until Wednesday.
“They are not done with the talks in Greece, and even though there is a certain optimism, I am not too convinced,” he said.
Chile’s IPSA index fell for a second day, dropping 0.34 percent. The index’s relative strength index remained in “overbought” territory, however, suggesting shares have more room to fall in coming sessions.
Retailer Falabella drove the index falling 0.9 percent, while heavyweight industrial conglomerate Copec slipped 0.79 percent. (Additional reporting by Asher Levine in Sao Paulo and Rachel Uranga in Mexico City; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)