Argentine stocks slide as global markets roiled

jueves 17 de enero de 2008 18:54 ARST

(Updates with trader comment, details; bonds, peso)

BUENOS AIRES Jan 16 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks fell to a four-month low on Thursday, mirroring an overall market slump centered on U.S. economic concerns.

The MerVal index .MERV of 42 leading companies closed 2.64 percent lower at 2,011.21 points, accumulating losses of 5.7 percent in the last three sessions.

When Argentina's market closed, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was trading 1.74 percent lower, and Brazilian and Mexican stocks were also down more than 2 percent.

"The market is exclusively responding to what happens in the United States," said Augusto Farina, a trader at Amirante Galitis brokerage, who said the MerVal could rebound if it hits the 2,000 point mark.

Volume on the broad market was a moderate 117.5 million pesos ($37 million), and 26 active shares advanced, 72 declined and 15 were unchanged.

The session's losses were led by leisure group Comercial del Plata COM.BA, which shed 8.8 percent to end at 0.57 pesos a share, and Brazil's energy company Petrobras APBR.BA, which sank 5.7 percent to close at 148.5 pesos in Buenos Aires.

Sovereign bonds traded locally fell for a third straight day, ending 0.7 percent lower on average. The worst losses were seen in Par bonds denominated in pesos, which fell 1.3 percent in over-the-counter trade.

The peso ended weaker amid continued central bank intervention aimed at keeping the currency competitive for exports.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso slumped 0.24 percent to 3.1775/3.1800 per dollar ARSB=.

In formal interbank trade, the peso slipped 0.08 percent to end at 3.1475/3.1500 ARS=RASL. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Hilary Burke; Editing by Frank McGurty)