Latin America stocks are off to a solid start this year, and Morgan Stanley sees some names in the region posting strong gains in the near term. The iShares Latin America 40 ETF (ILF) , which tracks the 40-largest stocks across Latin American markets, is up more than 4% in 2023, outpacing the S & P 500 's roughly 3.7% advance. The ILF also outperformed the U.S. stock benchmark last year, losing just 2.4% while the S & P 500 tumbled 19%. Latin American stocks got a boost last year as commodity prices rose due to the global economic reopening and the Ukraine-Russia war breaking out. Given this backdrop, Morgan Stanley unveiled its top stock ideas for the month. The list consists of "high conviction short-term calls from our fundamental analysts that we agree with," wrote Guilherme Paiva, equity strategist at the bank. Here are four stocks that made the cut. Brazilian bank Itau Unibanco made the list, with Morgan Stanley expecting a total return of 54% this year, including dividends. The firm also called Itau its "favorite large-cap bank stock." "We think Itaú's strategic foresight and operational capabilities represent a meaningful competitive advantage in the marketplace," Morgan Stanley said in the note. "Itaú gets digital and is working hard to become more open, agile, and client centric." U.S.-listed Itau shares are flat for the year. However, they rallied more than 25% in 2022. Software name Globant also made the list, with Morgan Stanley expecting the stock to rise roughly 50% going forward. "Resilient demand for DX supports growth amid weaker macro environment in the short term," the bank said. "Longer term, our estimates are supported by GLOB 1) entering new geographies (traction in Europe), 2) servicing new industries (incl. topical studio launches); and 3) and monetization new technologies (emerging platform services)." To be sure, Globant's U.S.-listed shares are down nearly 38% over the past year. The company also issued weaker-than-expected earnings guidance for the first quarter. E-commerce giant MercadoLibre also made the cut. The stock has been on fire this year, surging about 44%. On Feb. 23, the company posted a fourth-quarter profit of $3.25 per share, topping a StreetAccount consensus forecast of $2.42 per share. MercadoLibre "is the eCommerce leader in LatAm and has a complementary fintech business. We see the company well positioned to capture the secular growth opportunities on both fronts, supported by an integrated ecosystem of product and service offerings," Morgan Stanley said. Lastly, Peruvian bank Credicorp made Morgan Stanley's list. Analysts expect the bank to return 27% to investors this year. The stock has lagged this year, losing nearly 4%. However, Morgan Stanley said Credicorp "remains a top-class banking franchise that could navigate the current challenging based on management's execution capabilities." BAP YTD mountain BAP in 2023 — CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed reporting.