Argentina stocks flat despite rise in oil shares

martes 15 de abril de 2008 18:06 ART

BUENOS AIRES, April 15 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks closed virtually unchanged on Tuesday as gains by oil-related shares boosted by record crude oil prices were offset by a sell-off of financial shares.

The benchmark MerVal stock index .MERV edged up 0.02 percent to 2,121.31 points.

U.S. crude futures rose to a record above $114 a barrel on Tuesday, as supply issues, rising diesel demand in China and a persistent weakness of the dollar helped lift prices.

"Apart from oil-related shares with the rise of crude oil, the market is unable to find the means to bounce back," said Jorge Alberti, an analyst at

Buenos Aires-listed shares of Petrobras rose 1.18 percent to 196.5 pesos.

Petrobras Energia Participaciones PCH.BA, a unit of Brazil's Petrobras, gained 2.08 percent to 3.92 pesos.

Brazil's National Petroleum Agency confirmed that an offshore find, made by Brazil's state-owned Petrobras (APBR.BA: Cotización) in partnership with Repsol-YPF REP.BA and BG Group BG.L, would be the largest in the world in the past 30 years, but remained cautious about estimating the reserves.

"The MerVal continues to be pushed down by bank shares," said Claudio Szalaien, an analyst at Marlon Recursos Financieros brokerage.

Among the session's losers was banking group, Banco Patagonia (BPAT.BA: Cotización), which shed 1.42 percent to 2.78 pesos.   Continuación...