Argentine stocks rise on U.S. stimulus package hopes

viernes 6 de febrero de 2009 19:08 ARST

BUENOS AIRES Jan 6 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks jumped to a three-week high close, along with other markets in the region that are betting that the United States will soon launch a stimulus plan to revive the economy.

The benchmark MerVal index .MERV rose 2.98 percent to 1,143.82 points, it's fourth consecutive gain. On the broad market, volume was moderate at $15 million. Of active issues 34 advanced, 15 declined and 21 were unchanged.

Buenos Aires-traded shares of Brazilian oil firm Petrobras APBR.BA rose 5 percent to 52.5 pesos per share.

"With international markets betting that the U.S. stimulus package will come out soon, oil companies led the MerVal to a selective recovery," said Claudio Szlaien, analyst with Marlon Recursos Financieros.

Prices of Argentine government bonds traded over-the-counter in Buenos Aires rose slightly on average, led by the dollar-denominated 2033 Discount bond ARDISCD=RASL, which gained 2.1 percent to an ask price of 34.75.

The peso closed flat to slightly stronger in light trade with little intervention by the Central Bank, traders said.

In formal exchange between banks the peso currency unchanged at 3.4850/3.4875 per dollar ARS=RASL. In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso strengthened by 0.21 percent to 3.5450/3.5475 ARSB=. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi, writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Diane Craft)