Brazil Tanks as Rousseff May Avoid Impeachment

If you ever wanted to see how the outside investing world views a nation’s leadership, look no further than Brazil on Monday, May 9, 2016. The impeachment efforts against Dilma Rousseff reportedly have been derailed. The financial markets covering Brazil have tanked as a result.

At issue is not just that Rousseff is deemed a socialist. The effort to shake out corruption in Brazil while Rousseff has been president has been widespread. The long and short of the matter is that anyone tied to finance and business outside of Brazil, and many of those same groups inside of Brazil, want the Rousseff regime to come to an end because the political promises have failed to boost the economy. Brazil’s economic performance has been a disaster.

This is being called a procedural stumbling block. Brazil’s lower house has reportedly moved to halt the current impeachment process, but another vote is being called after noting that the first vote was flawed. Rousseff may still be impeached, but this process does not look as though it will be as rapid or as smooth as financial market participants have hoped for in recent weeks.

It may seem sad to think that the market would tank when a president gets to stay in office. Again, this is Brazil, and most of the economic participants want Rousseff out.

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, has been at the core of the corruption scandals in Brazil. Its American depositary shares (ADSs) in New York were last seen down 9% at $6.65 on Monday. Petrobras has lost most U.S. analyst coverage because the performance has been atrocious, and it is also a state-run entity that does not treat investors in the same manner that most Western investors are used to. Petrobras ADSs have a 52-week trading range of $2.71 to $10.46, but this used to be far higher — well above $30 in years past.

iShares MSCI Brazil Capped (NYSEMKT: EWZ) was last seen down 4.2% at $26.78, but its low on Monday was down at $25.89. This exchange traded fund (ETF) has a 52-week range of $17.30 to $37.35.

BRF S.A. (NYSE: BRFS), the large meat and food producer, traded down 3.2% at $12.87. It has a market cap of $10 billion and in New York trading has a 52-week range of $11.05 to $22.35.

Telefonica Brasil S.A. (NYSE: VIV), a giant fixed-line and mobile telecom carrier in Brazil, was also down 3.8% at $11.70. It has a market cap of about $19.7 billion and a 52-week range of $7.72 to $16.08.

Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. (NYSE: GOL), one of the major airlines and air transport services in Brazil, was down 4.3% at $7.18 on Monday. The 52-week range is $2.40 to $28.30, but this company has been under a restructuring effort.

It is always sad to see that the local financial market, or markets, may tank when it is announced that a president will get to remain in office. Still, that seems to be the case here. Just keep in mind that this is Brazil, so things might change rapidly in either direction.

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