Argentine stocks slide to two-year low, bonds fall

martes 9 de septiembre de 2008 17:52 ART

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks plunged 4.38 percent on Tuesday to their lowest point in two years, pressured by falling oil prices and Wall Street's losses, while bonds slumped on profit-taking, traders said.

The benchmark MerVal .MERV index closed down at 1,595.07 points, the lowest level since Sept. 11, 2006. The index has fallen 9.27 percent in the last four sessions, deepening losses since the start of the year to 25.87 percent.

Energy-related stocks bore the brunt of the sell-off as crude oil prices fell, briefly slipping below $100 per barrel in London for the first time in five months.

"The weakness of crude oil continued to pressure the MerVal through Petrobras APBR.BA and Tenaris TENA.BA," said Claudio Szlaien, an analyst at Marlon Financial Resources.

Energy-linked companies account for 36 percent of the MerVal, led by Petrobras, Brazil's state-run energy company, and Tenaris, the world's largest producer of seamless steel tubes for the energy industry. Petrobras fell 8.9 percent and Tenaris fell 7.5 percent.

Steep losses on Wall Street .DJI added to the gloom.

"The markets had another black Tuesday," one trader said.

Trade volume on the broad market was a modest $34 million. Of active shares, 70 retreated, 27 advanced, and 8 were unchanged.

On the local debt market, Argentine bonds <AR/BONOS> closed down on average by 1.5 percent in over-the-counter trade due to profit-taking after Monday's average gain of 1.1 percent.   Continuación...