By Paul Kiernan
SAO PAULO--Brazilian stocks mostly loitered near their previous closing prices early in Tuesday's session, remaining slightly above eight-month lows as investors found little encouragement in the latest news.
Around 11:30 a.m. EDT, Brazil's benchmark Ibovespa index of most-traded shares was up 0.2% at 53546 points.
Retailer and consumer shares were among the top gainers, while industrial heavyweights lagged.
Meatpacker Marfrig Alimentos SA (MRFG3.BR) was recently up 2.8% at 8.71 Brazilian reais ($4.30), retail chain Hypermarcas SA (HYPE3.BR) shares gained 2.3% at BRR10.95, brewer Ambev (AMBV4.BR) shares were ahead 0.6% at 72.85 and private-sector banking leader Itau Unibanco Holding SA(ITUB4.B4) shares traded 0.3% higher at BRR28.23.
State-owned oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR, PETR4.BR) shares were down 0.8% at BRR18.96, mining giant Vale (VALE, VALE5.BR) was off 0.2% at BRR35.95 and steelmaker Usiminas (USIM5.BR) shares gave back 2% at BRR8.00.
Data released Tuesday in Brazil fell in line with recent signs that the economy is slowing.
The National Confederation of Industries said Brazil's utilization of industrial capacity fell for the third-straight month in April, this time to 81.0%, as manufacturers struggled against problems ranging from higher consumer debt to a flood of cheap imports.
HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index for the Brazilian private-services sector stood at 49.6 in May, indicating a contraction as input costs rose and client demand was weak.
News from battered developed markets was a bit more upbeat, however, as the U.S. services sector unexpectedly picked up in May.
But ING's local SulAmerica Investimentos said in a weekly outlook that it sees little opportunity for the Ibovespa to gain in the short term.
"The pessimistic slope should linger in markets, fed by the development of the crisis in Spain and by signs of the U.S. and Chinese economies' progressive weakening," SulAmerica Investimentos said.
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