Argentine stocks slip to 4-month low as oil falls

jueves 10 de enero de 2008 18:40 ARST
 

BUENOS AIRES Jan 10 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks fell to a four-month low on Thursday, as lower crude oil prices helped drag down market heavyweight Tenaris.

The MerVal index .MERV slipped 0.24 percent to 2,084.55 points, its lowest level since mid-September. On the broad market, volume was moderate at $32 million and of active issues 44 advanced, 36 declined and 11 were unchanged.

Tenaris TENA.BA, which makes steel pipes for the oil industry, was a volume and loss leader, falling 2.69 percent to close at 63.25 pesos. Tenaris' share price is often affected by volatility in crude oil.

Oil prices tumbled $2 on Thursday on concerns of a global economic slowdown that could weaken demand.

Horacio Corneille, director of the Corneille brokerage, said the fall in oil prices erased some optimism earlier in the day after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke raised expectations of further interest rate cuts in the United States.

"In this context, the MerVal could recover (in the short term) to 2,130 points," Corneille said.

Sovereign bonds on the local market rose cautiously as some players took advantage of low prices. On average, government bonds rose 0.7 percent. The dollar-denominated Par bond gained 1.3 percent in over-the-counter trade.

The peso currency closed flat as the central bank absorbed dollars that entered the market. In interbank trade the peso ended at 3.1275/3.1300 per U.S. dollar ARS=RASL, unchanged from a day earlier. In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso also closed unchanged at 3.1700/3.1725 ARSB=. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Translating by Fiona Ortiz; editing by Leslie Adler)