BUENOS AIRES, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks recovered on Friday after two consecutive losses, buoyed by gains on external markets in a session marked by selective buying, traders said.
The MerVal index .MERV of 25 leading stocks edged up 0.67 percent to close at 2,262.11 points, nearing the record high of 2,303.43 points reached in July.
On the broad market, volume was a healthy 117.2 million pesos ($36.6 million). Among active issues, 78 advanced, 30 declined and 14 were unchanged.
"The MerVal joined in the external trend through Telecom and Brazil's Petrobras," said Diego Zabaleta, a trader with Besfamiglie brokerage.
Telephone firm Telecom (TEC2.BA) gained 3.16 percent to close at 16.3 pesos per share, while the Argentine branch of Brazilian state oil company Petrobras APBR.BA rose 1.92 percent to 132.5 pesos per share.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrials .DJI finished up 0.56 percent, lifting the Argentine stock market, which will be closed on Monday for a national holiday.
"There's still a significant amount of caution and decisions are being taken on what's happening on Wall Street," said Ricardo Maied, a trader at the Federal brokerage.
Meanwhile, Argentine sovereign debt <AR/BONOS> closed slightly lower, dropping 0.15 percent on average in guarded trade as investors responded to U.S. economic reports on prices and consumer confidence.
Peso-denominated Discount bonds fell 0.7 percent, while dollar-denominated Discount paper shed 0.6 percent.
The Argentine peso ended weak after a calm session. In trade between foreign exchange houses as measured by Reuters, the peso weakened 0.16 percent to close at 3.2025/3.2050 per U.S. dollar ARSB=.
In formal interbank trade, where the central bank routinely intervenes, it gave up 0.08 percent, closing at 3.1550/3.1575 per dollar ARS=RASL.