Argentine stocks track crude, Wall Street higher
BUENOS AIRES, March 17 (Reuters) - Argentina's stock, currency and bond market trends on Tuesday.
* MerVal stocks index .MERV rose 1.74 percent to 1,051.79 points, buoyed by higher crude oil prices and gains on Wall Street.
* Shares in bellwether Tenaris TENA.BA, which makes steel pipes for the energy industry, jumped 2.2 percent to 34.90 pesos, while those of Brazilian energy company Petrobras APBR.BA rose 3.2 percent to 56.50 pesos in Buenos Aires.
* These two companies alone account for 46 percent of the MerVal's weighting.
* On the broad market volume was anemic at $8.2 million. Of active issues 29 advanced, 25 declined and 15 were unchanged.
* Argentine bonds sank 1.7 percent on average in local over-the-counter trade, as investors stayed wary over the government's surprise bid to move mid-term elections up by four months, purportedly to focus on the global economic slide.
* The move was seen as fresh evidence of the government's unpredictable behavior, and was viewed by many as a political ploy to try to improve the ruling party's election prospects.
* The peso-denominated 2033 Discount bond ARDISCP=RASL shed 3.6 percent, according to the ask price.
* In formal exchange between banks, the peso weakened 0.14 percent to 3.6450/3.6475 per dollar ARS=RASL, with the central bank intervening in the spot and futures markets to keep the local currency from sliding further, traders said.
* In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso firmed 0.2 percent to 3.73/3.7350 ARSB=. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi; Writing by Hilary Burke; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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