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EMERGING MARKETS-LatAm currencies down as U.S. retail sales foster rate hike bets

bets@ SAO PAULO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies mostly weakened on Tuesday after the largest gain in U.S. retail sales in seven months, leading traders to rethink skepticism about a potential U.S. rate hike this year. The retail sales gains suggested the U.S. economy had momentum early in the third quarter and an upward revision to the data for June and May relieved concerns about a slowdown in consumer spending at the start of the year. The report likely keeps the Federal Reserve on track to hike again in December, potentially draining funds away from emerging markets, BGC Liquidez currency trader Francisco Carvalho said. The Mexican peso weakened 0.6 percent, while the Colombian peso slipped 0.5 percent. Losses were limited, however, by easing tensions between the United States and North Korea, which drove some demand for risky assets and triggered a second day of gains in stock markets in developed economies. Pyongyang state media said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has delayed a decision on firing missiles towards Guam while he waits to see what the United States does next. Fears over military conflict had driven sharp losses in emerging markets last week. Latin American stock markets were mixed on Tuesday, with Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index rising in the wake of a strong batch of corporate updates. Mall operator BR Malls Participações SA, food processor Marfrig Global Foods SA, meatpacker JBS SA and toll road operator CCR SA all rose after reporting their second quarter results. Argentina's Merval benchmark stock index slipped 1.1 percent as traders booked profits from the previous day's rally, but the peso extended gains for a second day. Argentine markets jumped after results from the country's mid-term legislative primary election were expected to favor business-friendly President Mauricio Macri.

Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1440 GMT:

Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1052.20 -0.14 22.19 MSCI LatAm 2776.53 -0.3 18.98 Brazil Bovespa 68629.88 0.51 13.95 Mexico S&P/BVM IPC 51208.58 0.08 12.19 Chile IPSA 5063.73 0.6 21.98 Chile IGPA 25275.43 0.61 21.90 Argentina MerVal 22321.77 -0.97 31.94 Colombia IGBC 10732.40 -0.68 5.97 Currencies daily % YTD % change change

Latest

Brazil real 3.1982 0.10 1.60 Mexico peso 17.8660 -0.59 16.11 Colombia peso 2983.43 -0.54 0.61 Peru sol 3.247 -0.12 5.14 Argentina peso (interbank) 17.0500 0.50 -6.89 Argentina peso (parallel) 18.05 2.38 -6.81

(Reporting by Bruno Federowski; editing by Grant McCool)