NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Bargain hunters and optimists left their stamps on the major Latin American bolsas Tuesday.
Stocks in Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela all posted gains, with the Mexican exchange's 2.53 percent rise leading the way.
Brazilian shares climbed 2.35 percent, buoyed in large part by optimism that Latin America's biggest economy has turned a corner in its deep currency crisis, traders said.
Sao Paulo's key Bovespa index closed up 245 points at 10,658 after surging more than 8.8 percent and closing at its highest point in more than seven months on Monday.
"Investors are looking at a calm foreign-exchange market and the possibility of an increase in Brazil's credibility abroad," a trader at Solidus brokerage said.
By day's end, the real had weakened slightly -- by .005 real -- to close at 1.87 reals against the U.S. dollar after the Central Bank announced a sharp decrease in international reserves the day before, traders said.
While an extraordinary jump in Lightpar common shares boosted the Bovespa index on Monday, trade in the shares was suspended Tuesday and the market continued its rise anyway.
"The market is showing a strong, consistent trend," a trader at a local brokerage said.
Mexican stocks were fueled higher by advances in Brazilian stocks, expectations of lower interest rates, and bargain-hunters who snatched up laggards that were left out of the bourse's two-week-long rally, dealers said.
The IPC index of 35 leading stocks finished the day up 120.49 points, or 2.53 percent, at 4,890.39 on relatively heavy volume.
Earlier in the afternoon, Jose Gomez, an analyst with Value brokerage, said, "This rise is largely backed by Brazil, which continues (to be) very strong, and by expectations that interest rates could drop 200 basis points."
Near the end of trade, the country's Central Bank announced Mexico's 28-day Cetes rate fell 222 basis points to 22.17 percent in this week's primary auction while demand fell to 20.376 billion pesos.
According to dealers, investors were also showing interest in stocks that had yet to catch up with recent market gains.
"There are U.S. institutional investors that are starting to look for lagging, cheap stocks, such as Grupo Elektra, which has been too cheap," said Rolando Calderon, corporate analyst at Santander Investment.
Stocks in Venezuela, meanwhile, recouped some of the ground they lost on Monday, to close up 24.8 points, or 0.63 percent, at 3,986.54.
Elsewhere in the region, profit-seeking sent shares in Peru down 0.38 percent to 1,449.46 as both local and international investors sold off selective blue chips, especially mining companies, traders said. Argentina stocks stumbled as well, falling 0.91 percent to 413.6, as did the key stock index in Colombia, where shares slipped 0.29 percent to 916.44. Equities in Chile, however, closed flat, up a mere 0.11 percent at 3,984.88.
-- from staff and wire reports