EMERGING MARKETS-Most Latam stocks track Wall St higher after Fed minutes

By Susan Mathew and Ambar Warrick

(Updates prices) By Susan Mathew and Ambar Warrick April 8 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks extended gains to a third session on Wednesday, after Wall Street strengthened gains on the release of minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's last meeting, while regional currencies also firmed against a stronger dollar. The minutes reaffirmed the Fed's resolve to take any measures needed to stabilize the economy in the face the coronavirus pandemic, panic over which has wiped trillions off the global indices. "It seems as if the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee was pretty much in unison behind the broader decisions they've made," said Kevin Flanagan, head of fixed income strategy at Wisdomtree Asset Management, New York. As U.S. stocks gained, Latam bourses followed. Brazil's Bovespa climbed 3.5%, while most other regional stock indexes rose between 1% and 3.7%. Mexico's IPC index, however, dipped slightly in its last trading day for the week. Financial markets in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia will resume trading on Monday after an extended eater weekend. The virus' death toll and spread continued to increase, while its economic impact loomed over markets as more countries impose lockdowns in a bid to stem its spread. As of Tuesday, Mexico registered 2,785 cases of coronavirus infection, and a death toll of 141. Emerging market assets were hit particularly hard by the drop in risk appetite, with the MSCI's Latin American stocks and currencies indexes now trading just above multi-year lows. Brazil's real erased early losses to trade 1.4% firmer, as did Mexico's peso. Anticipation ahead of a key OPEC+ meeting on Thursday, which is expected to result in major oil producers cutting production, also kept markets on their toes. Oil and gas heavyweight Petrobras was the biggest boost to Brazil's Bovespa, adding more than 2.5% after it outlined further cost cuts. Roberto Campos Neto, the president of Brazil's central bank, pledged aggressive intervention in foreign exchange markets to prop up the real, which has lost nearly a third of its value over the last quarter. In Chile, the currency rose 1.6%, while stocks added 1.9%. Data on Wednesday showed inflation in the 12 months to March rose 3.7% in the country, but was within the central bank's target range. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1910 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily % change MSCI Emerging Markets 875.42 -0.31 MSCI LatAm 1677.12 3.56 Brazil Bovespa 78988.88 3.45 Mexico IPC 34403.91 -0.35 Chile IPSA 3783.18 1.93 Argentina MerVal 27682.36 3.694 Colombia COLCAP 1176.00 1.08 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 5.1498 1.49 Mexico peso 23.9685 1.36 Chile peso 846 0.96 Colombia peso 3897.35 0.20 Peru sol 3.3697 -0.20 Argentina peso 65.1575 -0.13 (interbank) (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)