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Wall Street Roundup

S&P gives Brazil credit rating boost

May 01, 2008|From Times Wire Services

Brazil received an investment-grade credit rating for the first time from Standard & Poor's, sending the country's benchmark stock market index to a record high and yields on dollar bonds to an all-time low Wednesday.

Brazil, whose economy grew last year at the fastest pace since 2004, should be able to maintain annual growth of as much as 4.5%, S&P said as it raised the country's long-term foreign-currency debt rating to BBB-minus from BB-plus.

Brazilian exports have tripled since President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office in January 2003 on rising world demand for soybeans, iron ore, beef and cars.

Once the world's largest emerging-market debtor, Brazil became a net foreign creditor for the first time in January as international reserves grew to a record $171.6 billion from $37.6 billion at the start of Lula's first term.

Credit-rating hikes usually lead to lower borrowing costs.

"It makes Brazil a more attractive place to invest," said Howard Appleby of investment management firm Northern Cross in Boston.

The Bovespa climbed 6.3% to 67,868.46 in Sao Paulo trading, making the index this year's best performer among the world's 20 biggest stock markets.

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