By Anthony Harrup
MEXICO CITY -- Mexican stocks closed lower Friday in line with U.S. equities, while the peso weakened against the U.S. dollar as oil prices slipped.
The IPC index of leading issues ended down 1.2% at 43,230 points on volume of 228.1 million shares worth 6.55 billion pesos ($355 million).
Telecommunications heavyweight America Movil shares fell 1.3% to MXN13.02, and cement maker Cemex shares closed 1.8% lower at MXN9.25.
Wal-Mart de Mexico shares rose 2.6% to MXN47.22 after the retailer reported strong January sales. Walmex said its same-store sales in Mexico were up 9.7% on the year, while total sales grew 10.9%. Central American sales were also higher than in January 2015.
Credit Suisse called it an impressive start to the year. According to management, "the strong increase in same-store sales is coming across formats, with self-service, Sam's and Suburbia all posting strong figures. Across categories, staples, general merchandise, and apparel are all contributing to the positive result too," the firm said in a report.
The U.S. dollar gained following the U.S. January employment report, which was mixed as payrolls increased less than expected but the unemployment rate fell.
The peso was quoted in Mexico City at MXN18.4695 to the dollar, compared with MXN18.2530 late Thursday.
The depreciation triggered dollar sales by the central bank, which placed $356 million at several auctions. The Bank of Mexico offers $200 million when the peso weakens 1% from the previous day's fix, and an additional $200 million if the slide extends to 1.5%.
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