EMERGING MARKETS-Argentina stocks, peso firm amid IMF talks optimism

VAM Funds names Robert Gordon director of two funds

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 (Updates with details from Brazil, Mexico, NAFTA)
    BUENOS AIRES/SAO PAULO, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Argentine
equities and the peso currency jumped on Thursday, driven by
growing optimism about talks between the government and
International Monetary Fund to shore up the country's finances,
though traders warned the gains were fragile.
    Late on Wednesday, Argentina's economy minister voiced
"enormous confidence" about clinching a new deal with the IMF to
secure early disbursements from a $50 billion standby loan
agreement approved in June.
    On Thursday, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said the two sides
were making progress in the talks and hoped "to conclude as
rapidly as possible."
    The sanguine tone helped Argentina's MerVal stock
index close up 4.13 percent, its second consecutive day firmly
in the black, after a rocky start to the week. The peso
 closed up by almost 3 percent.
    But traders were quick to warn that any lasting improvement
in the mood of the local market depended on a tangible
short-term resolution to the IMF talks.
    "Despite some rebounds, it would be premature to interpret
it as a change in the current complex environment, given that
investors are still awaiting the result of the IMF
negotiations," said Gustavo Ber, economist at Buenos Aires
consultancy Estudio Ber.
    Across the region, equities markets generally posted light
to moderate gains.
    In Brazil, traders took heart in a Thursday Supreme Court
decision rejecting jailed leftist former President Luiz Inacio
Lula da Silva's latest appeal to be allowed to run for
    A key poll released late on Wednesday showed his likely
stand-in, Fernando Haddad, with little support, and
market-friendly candidates such as centrist Geraldo Alckmin
gaining ground.
    The Bovespa closed up nearly 1.8 percent.
    The index's biggest gainer was highway operator Ecorodovias
Infraestrutura e Logistica SA, which climbed 8.4
percent after analysts at Morgan Stanley raised their
recommendation on the stock to 'overweight' from 'underweight.'
    Still, there was shock in Brazil when the front-running
far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed
while campaigning on Thursday, and was reported to be in a
serious condition and undergoing surgery.
    Mexico's peso closed up more than 0.8 percent, as trade
talks between the United States and Canada aimed at reworking
the NAFTA trade deal continued in Washington.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2200 GMT:
 Stock indexes               Latest           Daily   YTD pct
                                                pct    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets           1,021.72     -1.77     -11.8
 MSCI LatAm                      2,380.08     -0.33    -15.84
 Brazil Bovespa                 76,416.01      1.76      0.02
 Mexico IPC                     48,711.85      0.24     -1.30
 Argentina MerVal               29,957.50      4.13     -0.36
 Colombia IGBC                  11,992.39     -0.98      5.47
 Chile IPSA                      5,169.52      0.62     -7.10
 Currencies                        Latest     Daily   YTD pct
                                                pct    change
 Brazil real                       4.1042      0.95    -19.27
 Mexico peso                      19.1795      0.82      2.71
 Chile peso                           689     -0.17    -10.79
 Colombia peso                      3,083      0.45     -3.27
 Peru sol                           3.323     -0.15     -2.59
 Argentina peso (interbank)       37.8000      2.86    -50.24
 (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Gram Slattery; Editing by Lisa
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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