Argentine stocks at record intraday high; bonds up
BUENOS AIRES Jan 5 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks rallied for a seventh consecutive session on Tuesday, hitting an intraday record led by banking issues, which were lifted by bond prices, which in turn rose ahead of a pending sovereign bond swap.
The benchmark stock index MerVal .MERV rose 1.05 percent to 2,409.76 at 1545 GMT, but volume was muted. A day earlier the index closed at a record high, both on the debt deal and on the global commodity prices rally, which boosted oil sector stocks.
Among the biggest gainers were leading Argentine banking conglomerate Grupo Financiero Galicia (GFG.BA: Cotización), up 1.37 percent to 2.21 pesos per share and large retail bank Banco Macro BMA.BA up 2.24 percent to 11.40 pesos.
Argentina expects to launch in late January a swap to mop up $20 billion in defaulted bonds, as part of an effort to clean up problems left over from its massive sovereign default eight years ago. For details see [ID:nN04218547].
Argentine banks are among the biggest holders of government bonds and the pending offer has pushed bond prices higher in recent months.
Bond prices rose 0.80 percent, on average, led by the peso-denominated 'Par' bond ARPARP=RASL which was up 2.18 percent to 35.70 according to the ask price.
Traders said stocks were also boosted by higher global oil prices as cold weather in key consumers the U.S. and Europe increased demand for heating oil and boosted oil-sector companies. Tenaris (TENA.BA: Cotización), a global leader in steel products for the oil industry, rose 1.44 percent to 84.70 pesos. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Writing by Luis Andres Henao; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Andrea Ricci)
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