Argentina stocks rise with global mkts; peso flat

martes 1 de abril de 2008 18:54 ART

BUENOS AIRES, April 1 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks climbed for the sixth consecutive session on Tuesday mirroring gains in global markets, but the increase was tempered by investor fears over the country's nearly three-week-long farmers' strike, traders said.

The central bank kept the peso stable by pumping dollars into the market, while bonds turned higher after a string of losses linked to investor caution over the farm protest.

The benchmark MerVal stock index .MERV ended up 1.53 percent to 2,136.08 points, clocking a 6.1 percent rise over the last six sessions and closing at its highest level in nearly a month.

"The MerVal rose in a measured manner compared to the euphoria in international markets. It reflected caution over domestic problems between farmers and the government," said Diego Zavaleta, a trader at Besfamille brokerage.

Shares jumped on Wall Street, led by a run-up in financial shares. Influential Brazilian .BVSP and Mexican .MXX stocks also soared.

Steelmaker Acindar ACI.BA shot up 18.55 percent to 5.75 pesos, after a holding company controlled by ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS: Cotización) announced the purchase of Acindar's few outstanding shares at that same price.

ArcelorMittal raised its stake in Acindar to 99.5 percent in late January.

On Argentina's broad market, volume was a modest $27.2 million. Of the active issues, 53 advanced, 19 declined and 17 ended unchanged.

Meanwhile, the peso was unchanged against the dollar at 3.1675/3.1700 ARS=RASL in formal interbank trade, where the central bank is selling dollars to put the brakes on the peso's fall, traders said.

The farmers' strike against a tax hike on soy exports has disrupted key grains exports, shrinking the flow of dollars from agricultural exporters.

The protest has also caused food shortages and landed President Cristina Fernandez in her biggest political