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EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico markets steady ahead of key US inflation data

MEXICO CITY, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Mexican markets held steady on Tuesday, with investors awaiting U.S. inflation data that could shine a light on the possible next steps of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank's monetary policy and future appetite for emerging market assets. In New York, Wall Street's main indexes fell for the first time in three sessions on Tuesday as caution crept in ahead of crucial data on inflation, a root cause of the recent sell-off. A strong reading on U.S. consumer price and retail sales data on Wednesday could fan concerns of faster interest rate hikes. Higher interest rates would dampen interest in high-yield emerging market assets. Mexico's IPC index edged up slightly, lifted by shares in Mexican miner and infrastructure firm Grupo Mexico . Shares in Mexican conglomerate Alfa, which competes in industries from food packaging to car parts to petrochemicals, were up 1.79 percent, the day after the company reported a narrower net loss in the fourth quarter. Telecoms giant America Movil, which is controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, is set to report fourth-quarter earnings later on Tuesday. Its shares were up 0.12 percent in late-morning trading. Mexico's peso weakened 0.3 percent to 18.655 pesos per dollar. The markets in Brazil, Latin America's largest economy, were closed for Carnival celebrations, as were Argentina's.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1736 GMT:

Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1164.37 0.95 -0.44 MSCI LatAm 2963.76 0.09 4.7 Brazil Bovespa 80898.70 Closed 5.89 Mexico IPC 47882.09 0.11 -2.98 Chile IPSA 5508.81 -0.87 -1.00 Chile IGPA 27827.39 -0.79 -0.55 Argentina MerVal 30143.44 Closed 0.26 Colombia IGBC 11530.59 -0.78 1.41 Venezuela IBC 0.00 0 -100.00 Currencies daily % YTD % change change

Latest

Brazil real 3.2935 Closed 0.60 Mexico peso 18.6540 -0.27 5.60 Chile peso 597 0.13 2.96 Colombia peso 2899.57 -0.37 2.84 Peru sol 3.269 -0.03 -0.98 Argentina peso 19.9600 Closed -6.81

(interbank)

Argentina peso 20.18 Closed -4.71

(parallel)

(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; editiing by Diane Craft)