If companies in Brazil were ranked like teams entering the World Cup are, Petrobras (NYSE: PBR ) and Vale (NYSE: VALE ) would be heavy favorites. These two behemoths command worldwide attention based on their size and the effect their individual performances can have on the markets in which they operate. Lately, however, several factors have sprung up in opposition to their success. Petrobras has been saddled with government meddling, and Vale has fallen victim to a suspected slowdown in Chinese demand for iron ore.
Thankfully, some news came out this week that might help slow the bleeding each company's stock price has experienced in 2013. For Petrobras, suggestions that Brazil's Libra field might be cheaper per barrel than the Gulf of Mexico to develop could spur added interest during an upcoming auction. In Vale's case, data out of China bodes well for most industrial materials companies, given the recent worries about halting demand from the global growth driver.
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