SAO PAULO, March 29 (Reuters) - Equities in Brazil, the only major Latin American market open all day on Thursday, posted their biggest intraday gain in three weeks, as a volatile week regarding international trade and politics gave way to a brief calm period. Traders consulted by Reuters said they were keeping an eye on Wall Street, which bounced back on Thursday after a sharp sell-off that was largely driven by tough trade rhetoric by U.S. President Donald Trump. Shares in Facebook Inc, Apple Inc , and Alphabet Inc were all up between 2 and 4 percent, driving a 1.6 percent gain on the S&P technology index . Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index was up 1.54 percent in afternoon trade, higher than gains in Wall Street's three major indexes. "We're following the calmer external scenario," said a Rio de Janeiro-based trader. "But we're going to see if this is sustained until the end of the day." Among the major gainers was Braskem SA, Latin America's largest petrochemical company, which was trading up 5.6 percent after swinging to a profit in the fourth quarter.
Among sectors on the Bovespa that benefited most from the perceived calm were stocks exposed to international steel markets. Vale SA, a major miner of key steelmaking ingredient iron ore, jumped 2.6 percent, while steelmakers Cia Siderurgica Nacional SA and Gerdau SA jumped 5.7 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. Elsewhere in Latin America, markets were generally closed due to Easter holidays, though markets in Chile are open for a half day.
Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1634 GMT:
Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1169.92 0.62 0.36 MSCI LatAm 3034.04 1.57 5.62 Brazil Bovespa 85139.50 1.51 11.44 Chile IPSA 5539.69 1.34 -0.45 Chile IGPA 27712.39 1.13 -0.96 Currencies daily % YTD % change change
Brazil real 3.3143 0.47 -0.03 Mexico peso 18.2115 0.54 8.17 Chile peso 604.6 -0.02 1.66 Colombia peso 2792.13 -0.03 6.80 Peru sol 3.229 0.00 0.25 Argentina peso 20.1450 0.12 -7.67
Argentina peso 20.71 0.24 -7.15
(Reporting by Gram Slattery and Camila Moreira Editing by James Dalgleish)