Argentina stocks slump, peso flat eyeing US data

viernes 14 de diciembre de 2007 18:04 ART

BUENOS AIRES Dec 14 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks fell for a fourth consecutive session on Friday after higher-than-expected consumer price data in the United States inflamed concerns about the health of the world's biggest economy.

The MerVal index .MERV of the 25 leading stocks shifted down 0.54 percent to 2,184.49 points. Broad market volume was heavy at $77 million and among active issues, 64 declined, 24 advanced and 11 closed flat.

Bank stocks were among the loss leaders. Banco Macro (BMA.BA: Cotización) lost 1.94 percent to 7.6 pesos per share while Banco Hipotecario (BHI.BA: Cotización) receded 1.75 percent to 2.24 pesos per share.

Government bond prices slumped an average 0.75 percent on the domestic market. The Disc bond in dollars gave up 1.6 percent while the Boden 2014 fell 0.5 percent.

"There's nothing clear as far as what impact on world markets the uncertainty over the U.S. economy will have, and that pushes people to unwind higher risk positions," said a bond trader who asked not top be named.

U.S. November consumer price index rose 0.8 percent, the biggest one-month jump in more than two years, due to leaping energy costs.

The peso currency, which is regulated by the central bank, closed flat at 3.1400/3.1425 per dollar ARS=RASL in formal interbank trade. In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso weakened 0.08 percent to 3.1650/3.1675 per dollar ARSB=. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; editing by Gary Crosse)