Argentine markets cautious over Paris Club move

martes 2 de septiembre de 2008 17:56 ART

(Updates with closing prices)

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks closed down on Tuesday as energy-related shares fell on lower oil prices, erasing earlier gains linked to the government's announcement that it would pay off $6.7 billion in defaulted Paris Club debt, while bonds edged higher.

The benchmark MerVal .MERV share index closed down 1.17 percent at 1,757.94 points after rising by as much as 0.85 percent after the debt announcement.

"It was a volatile day in which the news about the Paris Club caused a quick, strong surge that wore off due to the international climate," said Leopoldo Olivari, a trader at the Bacque brokerage.

Among the biggest losers was Tenaris (TENA.BA: Cotización), the world's top producer of seamless steel tubes for the energy industry, which fell 6.35 percent to 77.4 pesos per share. Tenaris is the MerVal's top-weighted stock.

Trade volume on the broad market was a light $27 million, and of active shares, 35 declined, 29 advanced and 18 were unchanged.

In the local debt market, Argentine bonds <AR/BONOS> trimmed earlier gains, closing with an average increase of 0.6 percent. They had risen by as much as 0.8 percent after the debt announcement by President Cristina Fernandez.

Traders said the announcement provoked mixed feelings.

"It's positive in that it shows a willingness to pay, to get rid of a problem, and because of the possibility that it could open up financing at better interest rates for Argentine companies," said Christian Reos, an analyst at Allaria Ledesma brokerage in Buenos Aires.   Continuación...