01/04/2012 01:53 AST

Latin American stocks ended the first quarter of 2012 strongly on Friday with Brazil's Bovespa and Chile's IPSA posting their sharpest quarterly gains since September 2010.

With fears of a European debt crisis easing and a slowly improving economy in the United States, Brazil's Bovespa stock index advanced 13.6 percent this quarter to 64,510.97. Chile's IPSA stock index climbed 11.8 percent.

The Bovespa is likely to reach an all time high of 75,000 points by year end and Mexico's IPC stock index, which logged a 6.5 percent gain this quarter, is expected to jump 13 percent from the 2011 close, according to a recent Reuters poll.

"There is abundant liquidity and interest rates are very low. This is an attractive sign for the market," said Luciana Pazos, wealth management chief at Mirae Securities.

Low interest rates in the U.S., Europe and Japan have helped fuel the rise in riskier assets as investors flock to higher-yields. The MSCI Latin America index shot up 13.9 percent this quarter.

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Reuters

Ticker Price Volume
QNBK 123.29 21,021
JARIR 143.98 13,484
AICC 16.56 103,569
SABIC 98.36 2,678,948
ALMARAI 57.00 297,165
CHEMANOL 6.99 1,858,123
FAB 10.45 2,462,803
Index Closing Change
NIKKEI 225 21,363.05 26.93 (0.12%)
DAX 13,043.03 47.97 (0.36%)
S&P 500 2,561.26 1.90 (0.07%)
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