NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Monday proved a mostly positive day for bolsas in Latin America, which were aided by the Dow's historic close above the 10,000 level, though gains ranged widely from Brazil's meager 0.03 percent edge to Mexico's more than 2 percent rise.
Mexican shares built on already solid gains to finish trade up 2.3 percent, supported by quarter-end portfolio dressing as well as record-setting day on Wall Street and in market leader Telmex.
"It's the end of the quarter, and everyone is looking to shore up their portfolios," one trader said.
The leading IPC index ended the day up 108.85 points, or 2.3 percent, at 4,845.43.
At the end of each quarter, fund managers often add to their positions in winning stocks and dump losers to boost their performance rating. The first quarter ends on Wednesday.
Among gainers was Mexican telephone giant Telmex (TMX), which accounts for about 25 percent of the IPC index and whose American depositary receipts rose 2-1/4 to 65-7/16 in U.S. trading.
Paribas brokerage analyst William Beavington upgraded his rating on Telmex to "buy" from "no action," saying the telecommunications giant's shares were "cheap."
Cement maker Cemex also enjoyed a strong performance. Interacciones brokerage said the company could post a sales rise for its Mexico operations of 5 percent in the first quarter, well ahead of prior forecasts of 2 percent.
The brokerage said Cemex was attributing the stronger-than-expected domestic sales to lower interest rates that spurred construction projects in Mexico.
Shares in Brazil spent most of the day in negative territory due partly to profit consolidation after a strong rally last week. But the Bovespa index managed to end trade just above neutral, up 3 points, or 0.03 percent, at 10,869.
In related news, the president of Brazil's state oil titan Petrobras said the company will not be privatized and neither will its distribution arm, BR Distribuidora.
In currency news, the real finished 0.9 percent firmer at 1.76 against the U.S. dollar, amid news of further capital inflows, traders said.
Foreign exchange markets showed net inflows of about $200 million, they estimated.
Stocks in Venezuela closed up 1.4 percent Monday following the approval of fast-track legislative powers for President Hugo Chavez over the weekend, traders said, but volume was the lowest so far this year.
The IBC index rose 53.22 points to close at 3,885.46, reversing the downward trend of last week, during which the index lost 3.5 percent of its value.
Traders said the market was upbeat on Congress' approval Saturday of the so-called Enabling Law, which empowers Chavez to legislate by decree on matters from taxation to the central government payroll to confront Venezuela's fiscal and economic predicament.
Turnover was the lowest so far in 1999, with a meager 202 million bolivars ($346,000) changing hands. With the stock market closed Thursday and Friday this week for Easter holidays, many traders took advantage of this traditionally quiet period to extend their vacation.
"Many investors stayed out of the market because of the long weekend, but prices rose due to the approval of the Enabling Law," said Carlos Sanchez of Activalores.
He also said there were signs of buying interest returning to the market, which has long been waiting for concrete economic measures from the government.
"Foreign investors are already calling and asking about certain stocks," he added.
Benchmark stock Electricidad de Caracas , a barometer of investor confidence in Venezuela, rose 3.4 percent to 166 bolivars per share.
Among other bolsas in the region, stocks turned in a mixed performance. In Argentina, a surge in industrial conglomerate Perez Companc, boosted by firm oil prices and speculation that the company might be up for sale, helped the Merval index close higher by 2.12 percent at 415,51. In Chile, equities slipped 0.05 percent to 4,061.14, and in Peru, shares fell as well, shedding 0.73 percent to close at 1,452.74.
-- from staff and wire reports