Argentina stocks bounce back, bonds edge higher

miércoles 5 de diciembre de 2007 18:24 ART

BUENOS AIRES Dec 5 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks bounced back on Wednesday from a run of three losses, mirroring global markets that rose on renewed investor confidence over the U.S. economy, traders said, while bonds also gained.

The MerVal index .MERV of 25 leading stocks climbed 1.13 percent to 2,211.85 points after losing 2.21 percent in the three previous sessions.

Volume on the broad market was a thin $28 million. Among active issues, 43 rose, 24 fell and 14 ended unchanged.

U.S. economic date released on Wednesday showed companies added staff at the fastest pace in a year and productivity rose at the strongest level in four years in the third quarter.

"The MerVal's reaction was simply reflecting the strength of outside markets," said Leopoldo Olivari, a trader at the Bacque brokerage.

The MerVal's top performing stock was Brazilian state-run energy firm Petrobras APBR.BA (PETR4.SA: Cotización), which rose 6.47 percent to 161.3 pesos per share.

Bond prices <AR/BONOS> also recovered some ground after losses earlier in the week, ending the day with an average gain of 0.5 percent due to speculation over the inflation figure due to be announced on Thursday and over the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate policy.

Leading the debt market higher, was the dollar-denominated Bonar X, which finished up 2.2 percent ARBONAR17D=RASL in over-the-counter trade.

A higher inflation figure would trigger higher bond prices and many traders expect the Fed to cut interest rates next week.

In the foreign exchange market, the peso finished broadly stable, with central bank intervention keeping a lid on the currency's stronger tendency.

In formal interbank trade, where the central bank intervenes, the peso firmed by 0.16 percent to 3.13/3.1325 per dollar ARS=RASL. In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso weakened by just 0.08 percent to 3.155/3.1575 per U.S. dollar ARSB=. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)