By Claudia Assis, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Latin American stocks were mixed Thursday, weighed down by a stumble for American equities after a jump in jobless claims but supported by easing concerns about European sovereign debt.
Mexican and Chilean shares ended higher, while Brazil's stocks ended lower.
U.S. equities suffered after a Labor Department report showing U.S. jobless claims rose the most in two months. Successful bond auctions for Spain and Italy, however, calmed the markets and took some of the pressure off the euro.
Chile's IPSA won the day, finishing 1.2% higher. Telecommunications concern Telefonica Chile rose 10%, while real estate developer Paz rose 5.4%.
Analysts widely expect Chile's central bank to raise its key interest rate to 3.5% when it meets later Thursday.
Mexican stocks' benchmark, the IPC, added 0.2%. Biggest gainers in Mexico included media conglomerate Grupo Televisa SA (TV), which rose 1.4%, and beer maker Grupo Modelo, which rose 1.2%.
Brazil's Ibovespa closed 0.1% lower. Notable decliners included aircraft maker Embraer (ERJ), which fell 1.1%, real estate concern Rossi Residencial, also down 1.1%, and steel maker Usiminas, which retreated 0.9%.
Latin America's growth to moderate in 2011, 2012
The World Bank late Wednesday said Latin America and Caribbean region has "emerged from the global crisis well compared with its own past performance and the pace of recovery in other regions."
The bank estimated the region grew 5.7% in 2010, "similar to the average growth recorded during the 2004-2007 boom years."
But growth is forecast to slow to around 4% in 2011 and 2012 as developed economies and China cool off, the bank said.
In addition, "several countries in the region have been subject to potentially destabilizing capital inflows that have contributed to strong upward pressure on some currencies," it said.
Investors fleeing low interest rates in the developed world have flocked to emerging markets, pushing their currencies higher. In Latin America, the Brazilian real and the Mexican peso appreciated about 5% in 2010.
Latin America contracted 2.2% in 2009, the World Bank said.