Argentine stocks slip on lower oil prices

martes 5 de agosto de 2008 18:00 ART

BUENOS AIRES Aug 5 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks dipped on Tuesday in a fourth straight session of losses, hovering near their lowest level since November 2006 as a drop in crude oil prices hurt several leading companies, traders said.

The MerVal benchmark index .MERV ended 0.19 percent lower at 1809.15 points, accumulating a 7.2 percent loss since last Thursday.

"The bad market environment can be seen in the low trade volume, on a day in which the slide in crude prices affected Tenaris and Brazil's Petrobras," said Dionisio Corneille, a trader at a brokerage that bears his name.

U.S. crude futures closed lower for a second day in a row.

Index heavyweight Tenaris TENA.BA, which makes steel tubes for the energy industry, fell 0.9 percent to end at 87.6 pesos a share. Shares in Brazil's Petrobras APBR.BA shed 3.1 percent to close at 77.5 pesos in Buenos Aires.

Trade volume on the overall market was a moderate $30 million. Of active shares, 57 rose, 37 fell and 21 were unchanged.

Meanwhile, Argentine sovereign debt fell 0.8 percent on average in over-the-counter trade, with the dollar-denominated Discount bond falling 1.0 percent in a quiet session in which institutional investors stayed on the sidelines, traders said.

The peso currency also weakened slightly against the dollar amid thin volume.

In formal interbank trade, where the central bank regularly intervenes, the peso slipped 0.08 percent to 3.0400/3.0425 per dollar ARS=RASL. In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso weakened by the same percentage to end at 3.0575/3.0600 per dollar ARSB=. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Hilary Burke)