These Hot Latin American Stocks Are Hitting New Highs

Stocks are making modest gains this morning on news the Greek parliament voted to pass an austerity package. Although highly controversial in Greece, the austerity measures – which include privatizing government assets and cutting public sector wages – are intended to help the cash-strapped country avoid a sovereign debt default.

Back home, Wall Street is modestly up on news that one of the largest banks in the U.S., the Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), has made a multi-billion dollar settlement relating to the sale of its toxic mortgage-backed securities. On this optimism, several stocks are hitting 52-week highs, including South American companies Companhia Brasileira de Distribuicao (NYSE: CBD) and Sociedad Quimica Y Minera (NYSE: SQM), also known as Soquimich.

However, a limited number of stocks are falling to 52-week lows, including airline company AMR Corp (NYSE: AMR).

A full report follows below.

Stocks hitting 52-week highs

Companhia Brasileira de Distribuicao (NYSE: CBD), a Brazilian superstore akin to Walmart (NYSE:WMT),  is up over 6% so far this morning. CBD stock rallied on news that French retail giant, Carrefour (CASP.PA), is interested in merging its Brazilian assets with CBD. The deal would give Carrefour a 50% cut into one of the world’s largest and fastest growing food markets. However, rival French retail group, Casino Guichard-Perrachon  already owns a stake in CBD and is, therefore, bitterly opposed to the move. The deal will likely play out over the weeks to come.

Sociedad Quimica Y (NYSE: SQM): The Chilean chemicals and fertilizer company has risen about 3.5% this morning. The stock appears to have overcome technical resistance around $63 and is pushing higher on strong momentum.

Highway Holdings (NASDAQ: HIHO): The Chinese metal fabricator and electronic equipment manufacturer has sparked up over 31% in morning trading after reporting exceptionally strong fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2011 results. Fourth-quarter revenue increased 31.8% to $7.9 million, while fourth-quarter earnings soared almost five-fold to $0.21 per share. Similarly, fiscal-year sales rose 43.3% to $31.1 million and fiscal-year earnings rose nearly four times to $0.44 per share.

Stocks hitting 52-week lows

Webmd Health Corp (NASDAQ: WBMD): The web-based health internet provider has coughed up over -2% so far this morning. The stock has been on shaky ground since last Friday, when competing service provider Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced it is stopping its web-based health service known as (plainly enough) Google Health.

Amr Copr (NYSE: AMR): The airline carrier best known for its principal subsidiary, American Airlines, has dipped nearly -1.5% in morning trading. The stock is facing downward pressure as oil prices – and therefore fuel costs – climb higher.

Knight Capital Group (NYSE: KCG): The New Jersey-based regional investment brokerage firm has slipped nearly -0.5% so far this morning. The stock has been in a downtrend since May and seems to be succumbing to technical vulnerability.

As of this writing, Deborah O’Malley did not own a position in any of the stocks named here.

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