Argentine bonds chilled by uncertainty, stocks steady

miércoles 1 de octubre de 2008 18:03 ART

BUENOS AIRES Oct 1 (Reuters) - Argentine bond prices slumped anew on Wednesday as global uncertainty hit emerging assets, but stocks were cheered by hope of a financial sector rescue in the United States.

Argentine sovereign bonds traded locally dropped 2.2 percent on average, dragged down by a 6.5 percent loss in the peso-denominated Par bond ARPARP=RASL.

"Everything risky is falling heavily and the concern is expanding to all assets globally," said Marcelo Trovato, analyst with Caja Social de Inversiones brokerage. He noted that emerging market spreads are widening over U.S. Treasuries as yields fall on safe-haven assets.

Argentina's sovereign debt spread over U.S. Treasuries topped 1,000 basis points early in the day on the JP Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Index Plus (EMBI+) 11EMJ, but ended at 996 basis points.

The Merval .MERV index of leading stocks rose 0.46 percent to 1,605.68 points after falling by as much as 2 percent early in the day, as investors watched a pending vote by U.S. lawmakers on President George W. Bush's rescue plan to try to end a financial crisis and credit crunch.

Traders noted that local financial issues rallied on the U.S. news, even though they usually fall when Argentine bond prices slump, since they hold a lot of sovereign debt.

Grupo Financiero Galicia (GFG.BA: Cotización), owner of the country's biggest bank, gained 2.63 percent to 1.56 pesos per share.

Energy company Pampa Holding PAM.BA was among the value and volume leaders, rising 2.3 percent to 1.32 pesos per share.

Volume on the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange was normal at $26 million. Of active issues 38 advanced, 45 declined and 16 were unchanged.

The peso currency closed flat in interbank trade ARS=RASL at 3.1325/3.1350 per U.S. dollar. In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso slipped 0.16 percent to 3.1575/3.1600 per dollar ARSB=. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi, writing by Fiona Ortiz)