EMERGING MARKETS-LatAm currencies tread water after mixed U.S. jobs data

SAO PAULO, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies treaded water on Friday after a mixed batch of U.S. employment figures kept traders guessing about the pace of U.S. interest rate hikes. U.S. job growth slowed more than expected in December, but a pick-up in monthly wage gains pointed to labor market strength.

Economists saw the figures, after a recent stretch of solid economic data, as supporting the case for a March interest rate hike but offering few clues over monetary policy further on. Higher U.S. rates could dampen demand for emerging market assets, which offer higher yields. Currencies from Brazil, Mexico and Chile were nearly flat following a rally in the first days of the year. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index held near all-time highs as profit-taking kept a lid on gains. Shares of homebuilder Cyrela Brazil Realty SA were among the biggest gainers after Morgan Stanley upgraded its recommendation on the stock to "overweight" from "underweight."

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1640 GMT:

Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change


MSCI Emerging Markets 1200.50 0.67 2.94 MSCI LatAm 2967.34 0.28 4.63 Brazil Bovespa 78950.51 0.39 3.34 Mexico IPC 49997.93 0.51 1.30 Chile IPSA 5669.04 0.6 1.88 Chile IGPA 28507.22 0.63 1.88 Argentina MerVal 32090.68 0.43 6.74 Colombia IGBC 11752.66 0.24 3.36 Currencies daily % YTD % change change


Brazil real 3.2315 0.05 2.53 Mexico peso 19.2580 0.06 2.29 Chile peso 605.8 -0.15 1.46 Colombia peso 2899.76 -0.47 2.84 Peru sol 3.211 -0.06 0.81 Argentina peso (interbank) 19.0100 -2.00 -2.16 Argentina peso (parallel) 19.4 0.05 -0.88

(Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Tom Brown)