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EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil stocks down on election uncertainty

BRASILIA, April 9 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks fell on Monday as traders fretted over the most hard-to-predict presidential elections in decades, although meatpacker Marfrig Global Foods SA soared after acquiring U.S.-based

National Beef Packing Co .

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva turned himself in to police on Saturday to begin serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption that derails his bid to return to power.

Lula, who had criticized the government's efforts to cut social security spending, had easily led voting polls, unnerving traders who saw those austerity plans as key to curbing growth of public debt. Investors expect him to continue to exert influence over an election that is now without an obvious front-runner. "With all that uncertainty, it is natural that local markets demand a higher risk premium," said a manager at a Rio de Janeiro-based brokerage. The benchmark Bovespa stock index fell 0.7 percent, the only decliner among Latin America's main equity indexes that were mostly range-bound. Marfrig shares posted their biggest daily gain in over six years after the meatpacker unveiled a $969 million acquisition of National Beef Packing, which would make it the world's No. 2 beef processor after JBS SA. Marfrig also said it was seeking to sell an existing U.S. unit, Keystone Food LLC, with the proceeds repaying $1 billion in loans taken out to finance the acquisition of 51 percent of National Beef, the United States' fourth largest beef processor.

Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1550 GMT:

Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1164.97 0.26 0.3 MSCI LatAm 3016.11 -0.42 7.1 Brazil Bovespa 84228.93 -0.7 10.24 Mexico IPC 48193.82 0.56 -2.35 Chile IPSA 5625.55 0.76 1.10 Chile IGPA 27988.74 0.05 0.03 Argentina MerVal 31933.37 0.61 6.21 Colombia IGBC 11953.67 0.63 5.13 Currencies daily % YTD %

change change Latest

Brazil real 3.3927 -0.75 -2.34 Mexico peso 18.2505 0.23 7.94 Chile peso 603.61 0.08 1.83 Colombia peso 2779.85 0.41 7.27 Peru sol 3.239 -0.03 -0.06 Argentina peso (interbank) 20.1900 -0.05 -7.88 Argentina peso (parallel) 20.51 0.63 -6.24

(Reporting by Bruno Federowski, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)