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EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico peso tumbles to weakest since surprise rate hike

SAO PAULO, May 12 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks rose on Friday for the fourth straight day as Petróleo Brasileiro SA shares hit an 11-week high after the state-controlled oil company reported its strongest operating profit ever. Preferred shares of Petrobras, as the company is known, jumped as much as 5.1 percent after earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose 19 percent to 25.254 billion reais ($8.1 billion), beating the consensus forecast by 1.38 billion reais. UBS Securities analysts said the results were only the tip of an "iceberg of hidden value" and that the stock would probably keep performing well. "We reiterate our positive view for Petrobras investment case and expect to see the hidden part of this iceberg, which should generate value for equity holders," analysts led by Luiz Carvalho wrote in a note to clients. Health insurer Qualicorp SA was the biggest gainer, touching an all-time high after first-quarter profit fell less than expected and analysts increased their recommendations on the stock. Petrobras and Qualicorp accounted for more than half of the 0.8 percent gain for Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index . The move also reflected a recent pickup in appetite for emerging market assets, tracking recent strength in the euro and global weakness in the U.S. dollar. U.S. President Donald Trump's unexpected firing of FBI head James Comey fueled expectations of delays to the implementation of his pledges of heavy spending and tax cuts, which had stoked bets on a fast pace of U.S. interest rate hikes in coming months. Currencies from Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Colombia strengthened between 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent, supported by expectations that a slower pace of rate hikes could bolster demand for high-yielding assets. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1520 GMT:

Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change

Latest

MSCI Emerging Markets 1002.27 0.19 16.01 MSCI LatAm 2712.37 1.28 14.42 Brazil Bovespa 68055.92 0.77 13.00 Mexico IPC 49342.25 -0.38 8.10 Chile IPSA 4838.00 0.36 16.54 Chile IGPA 24256.79 0.35 16.99 Argentina MerVal 21579.10 0.71 27.55 Colombia IGBC 10674.51 0.85 5.40 Venezuela IBC 60572.41 0.08 91.05 Currencies daily % YTD % change change

Latest

Brazil real 3.1292 0.44 3.83 Mexico peso 18.7690 0.39 10.52 Chile peso 671.2 0.09 -0.07 Colombia peso 2915.43 0.35 2.95 Peru sol 3.28 0.21 4.09 Argentina peso (interbank) 15.4200 0.19 2.95 Argentina peso (parallel) 15.87 0.32 5.99

(Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)