Argentine stocks pressured lower by Wall Street

lunes 3 de marzo de 2008 19:30 ARST

BUENOS AIRES, March 3 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks fell on Monday, in line with Wall Street's drop, on jitters over the global repercussion of a potential recession in the United States.

Pushed down a by a fall in banking shares, the benchmark MerVal index .MERV ended down 1.17 percent to 2,136.79 points, accumulating a 2.83 percent fall over the last two sessions and falling into negative territory for 2008, down 0.69 percent.

"The MerVal is unable to distance itself from the U.S. market's weaknesses, aggravated by problems in the financial sector," said Leopoldo Olivari, a trader at Bacque brokerage.

The local market was pressured by Wall Street's fall as investors worried about the toll of further credit losses on banks and the impact of surging commodity prices on the economy's outlook.

In Buenos Aires, the session's losers were led by Banco Macro BMA.BA, with a 3.25 percent drop to 7.45 pesos per share. BBVA Banco Frances FRA.BA fell 2.59 percent to 8.28 pesos.

Volume on the broad market totaled a modest $25.3 million, and of the active issues, 48 declined, 15 advanced and 16 were unchanged.

Meanwhile, government debt prices <AR/BONOS> fell 0.4 percent on average due to the U.S. recession fears. The session's losers were led by the dollar-denominated Boden 14 bond, which fell 1.6 percent.

The peso closed unchanged at 3.1575/3.1600 per dollar ARS=RASL in formal interbank trade, where the central bank normally intervenes.

However, in informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso ARSB= firmed 0.31 percent to 3.1725/3.175 per dollar. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Gaspard Sebag)