By Brittany Levine

Brazilian shares rose Friday, continuing their best week since July, as energy and telecommunication companies boosted the index.

The Bovespa gained 243 points, or 0.4% to 60,478.8. The index has now added about 2% since last Friday. From July 10 through July 17, the index surged about 6%. On Wednesday, the index closed above the 60,000 level for the first time since July 21, 2008.

Earlier in the week, Brazil's Central Bank President Henrique Meirelles had encouraged businesses to invest, saying that the economy must expand to protect against inflationary pressures.

Shares of steel maker Gerdau SA (GGB) rose 0.6%, while mining giant Vale SA (RIO) added 0.4%.

Rob Lutts, chief investment officer at Cabot Money Management, said he thinks the Bovespa is going to continue to grow, especially the housing and real estate markets.

He pointed to Gafisa SA(GFA), a home builder that he thinks will gain in the long term but may pull back in the next few months. Gafisa's shares fell 0.1%.

"The emerging markets have led this worldwide rally, but some of the leaders have taken back," Lutts said, referring to a dip in Mexico's shares. "It's just adjusting to a little bit of a frothy market."

Mexico's IPC fell 183 points, or 0.6%, to 29,833. On Thursday, the IPC closed at 30,017.7, a 15-month high.

The Bank of Mexico announced that it would not change interest rates, and the bank's president gave a positive outlook for Mexico's economic future Friday morning.

As expected, the bank left its overnight rate unchanged at 4.5% for a second straight month. It said it hopes the economy will improve after a recent rough run resulting from the U.S. recession, according to a statement on its Web site.

"The most recent indicators of industrial production, employment and consumer confidence seem to indicate that the economy has hit bottom and is beginning a phase of expansion," the bank said.

Among declining Mexican stocks were airport operators and telecommunications providers.

Shares of Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte fell 2.9%, Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste slid 1%, America Movil dropped 0.8% and Telefonos de Mexico slipped 0.7%.

Argentina's Merval gained 0.09% to 2,019, and Chile's IPSA 0.7% to 3,297.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) advanced 0.4% to 1,070 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 0.5% to 9,837.