EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil's Bovespa steady on cautious buying after November decline


SAO PAULO, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Brazil's Bovespa equities index was steady on Friday, dipping just slightly as some investors sought buying opportunities among stocks that swooned about 3 percent in the last three sessions on doubts about whether Congress would pass a proposed overhaul of the country's pensions. In recent days, investors and analysts have focused on attempts by President Michel Temer to whip up the votes he needs in Congress to pass the pension bill, seen as vital to bolstering the nation's fiscal health. The Bovespa declined 3.4 percent in the month of November as the bill was watered down and lawmakers were hesitant to support the process ahead of an election year. On Friday, investors were more hopeful about the legislative effort as Temer was due to meet this weekend with Geraldo Alckmin, the governor of São Paulo state and a key figure in the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, which would be an important partner in the pension debate. Brazil's Bovespa index ticked down 0.12 percent by mid-afternoon, while the real jumped 0.24 percent. Across Latin America, equity and currency markets were relatively steady. Argentina's Merval and peso currency posted some of the more dramatic gains as institutional investors made select purchases on the relatively small index. Energy utilities in Argentina lead gains after the government said it would hike regulated gas and electricity rates as it slowly removes subsidies from the market. The Merval rose 0.18 percent, and the peso jumped 1.17 percent. Chile's peso continued to lose ground amid investor jitters over a tight presidential election scheduled for Dec. 19.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1445 GMT:

MSCI Emerging Markets 1115,70 -0,45 29,98 MSCI LatAm 2711,41 -0,29 16,18 Brazil Bovespa 71883,45 -0,12 19,35 Mexico S&P/BVM IPC 46953,60 -0,29 2,87 Chile IPSA 5012,34 0,18 20,74 Chile IGPA 25216,57 0,2 21,62 Argentina MerVal 26953,26 0,18 59,32 Colombia IGBC 10796,61 -0,11 6,60 Venezuela IBC 1331,27 0,86 -95,80 Currencies daily % YTD % change change


Brazil real 3,2631 0,24 -0,43 Mexico peso 18,6865 -0,30 11,01 Chile peso 651,11 -0,63 3,01 Colombia peso 3003,77 0,27 -0,08 Peru sol 3,233 0,00 5,60 Argentina peso (interbank) 17,2500 0,35 -7,97 Argentina peso (parallel) 17,91 1,17 -6,09

(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by David Gregorio)