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TICKER - Brazil's Bovespa Joins Carnaval

The Pérola Negra samba school of Brazil kicked off the second night of the four-day Carnaval in São Paulo's Sambódromo this year with an unlikely theme: trade and commerce.

The Pérola Negra samba school of Brazil kicked off the second night of the four-day Carnaval in São Paulo's Sambódromo this year with an unlikely theme: trade and commerce. Dressed in fanciful costumes representing Phoenicians, conquistadors, Arabs and East Indians as well as various jungle flora and fauna, hundreds of dancers performed the samba while singing a theme recounting the history of pirates, the spice trade and the trafficking of exotic wildlife. Their enormous headdresses bobbed up and down as they danced alongside eight floats showing different stages in the evolution of commerce.

The final stage: the modern-day stock market.

Bovespa, the city's stock exchange, was Pérola Negra's corporate sponsor for this year's event, and it didn't hold back. President Raymundo Magliano Filho and three board members rode high on one of the school's floats. On the pavement below, 180 Bovespa employees danced in costume as the samba school sang, "Today the madness is general, there's good commerce and trades of evil. Only my love is not for sale, a rare gem for you."

Carnaval is all about the fun, but this year's teaming of Pérola Negra and Bovespa is about business too. Pérola Negra -- which translates as "black pearl" -- sought out Bovespa to put up the hundreds of thousands of dollars required to pay for the spectacle, one of four parades in the celebration marking the beginning of Lent in the Roman Catholic calendar. For Bovespa, a presence at Carnaval fit right in with its six-year campaign to popularize the stock market; it hopes to reach out to unions and workers and educate them about the benefits of buying shares. Since the campaign began, individual investor accounts have increased from 90,000 to 230,000.

"The popularization of the exchange is only complete if we participate in Carnaval," says Luis Abdal, Bovespa's marketing director. The borse handed out brochures to tens of thousands of spectators in the Sambódromo, printed with the theme song and information about the exchange. For Magliano Filho, it was all in a day's work. "It's coherent with our campaign," he says.

Only his love is not for sale.