Argentine stocks near five-month low; peso weakens

jueves 3 de julio de 2008 18:37 ART

BUENOS AIRES, July 3 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks fell near five-month lows on Thursday as investors continued to pocket profits from recent gains in energy-related shares, while bonds closed mixed, traders said.

The benchmark MerVal stock index .MERV shed 1.7 percent to end at 1,998.37 points, with index heavyweight Tenaris (TENA.BA: Cotización) (TS.N: Cotización) -- the world's top producer of seamless steel pipes for the energy industry -- losing 3.44 percent to close at 106.7 pesos per share.

"Profit-taking in Petrobras and Tenaris again pushed the MerVal lower," said Guido Macchi, a trade at Macchi brokerage.

Petrobras APBR.BA fell 3.4 percent to close at 104.66 pesos, helping push the MerVal to its lowest level since February 8 when it closed at 1,992.62 points.

Sagging regional markets and a drawn-out conflict between farmers and the Argentine government continues to cause uncertainty, Macchi added.

Elsewhere in the region, Brazilian stocks .BVSP fell for a third session, extending the worst slump since January as investors dumped shares of steelmakers Gerdau (GGBR4.SA: Cotización) and Usiminas (USIM5.SA: Cotización), tracking a global slump in steel companies on concerns that slower demand will limit price increases.

Trade volume in Buenos Aires fell slightly to $34.4 million. Of active issues, 40 fell, 15 rose and 16 were unchanged.


On the local debt market, Argentine bonds <AR/BONOS> were mixed as investors continued to track the farm conflict.   Continuación...