Argentina stocks, bonds, peso fall as US data weigh

jueves 13 de diciembre de 2007 18:13 ART

BUENOS AIRES Dec 13 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks fell on Thursday to the lowest close in a week after U.S. inflation data came in higher than expected and on a slide in oil prices.

Bonds and the peso currency also lost ground as investors digested a liquidity injection plan by major central banks around the globe.

The MerVal index .MERV of the 25 leading stocks fell 1.33 percent to 2,196.48 points. Volume on the broad market was robust at $59 million and of active shares 58 declined, 13 advanced and eight were unchanged.

Buenos Aires-listed shares of Brazilian state oil firm Petrobras APBR.BA were the percentage loss leaders of the session, off 3.66 percent to 171 pesos per share, hit by lower international crude prices.

"You can attribute the drop in the MerVal to new questions about the U.S. economy. Investors aren't clear what direction (U.S.) interest rates will go in the medium-term," said Leopoldo Olivari, trader with Bacque brokerage in Buenos Aires.

Prices for Argentine government debt fell an average 1.5 percent in local trade. The Par bond in dollars slumped 3.6 percent while the Disc bond in dollars moved down 1.3 percent.

Bond traders said the surge of 3.2 percent in U.S. producer prices reported on Wednesday renewed concerns about the U.S. economy and heightened aversion to risks in emerging markets.

The peso currency weakened 0.55 percent to 3.1625/3.1650 per dollar ARSB= in informal trade between foreign exchange houses as measured by Reuters. The currency softened 0.08 percent to 3.1400/3.1425 per dollar ARS=RASL in formal interbank trade where the central bank intervenes. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; editing by Gary Crosse)