Argentine stocks track crude, Wall Street higher

martes 17 de marzo de 2009 18:14 ART

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: Cotización) 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)