Argentine stocks, bonds fall as Wall Street dives

miércoles 19 de noviembre de 2008 19:16 ARST

BUENOS AIRES Nov 19 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks fell on Wednesday, dragged down by a sell-off on Wall Street and persistent investor worries about a global recession, which also pushed bonds and the peso currency lower.

The MerVal benchmark index .MERV slid 2.06 percent to close at 925.35 points, extending losses over the last three sessions to more than 9 percent.

"The ups and downs of the Dow Jones continue to weigh on the MerVal," said Dionisio Corneille, director of Corneille brokerage. "Nobody wants to do anything risky with the markets so volatile."

Stocks in the United States tumbled as uncertainty over a possible rescue plan for the U.S. auto industry fueled concerns a slump in the world's biggest economy is deepening.

In Buenos Aires, Banco Frances FRA.BA fell 6.69 percent to 2.65 pesos. Heavyweights Petrobras APBR.BA, Brazil's state-run energy company, slid 5.7 percent to 33 pesos, and Tenaris TENA.BA, the world's leading producer of seamless steel tubes for the energy industry, lost 4.55 percent to close at 36.7 pesos.

On the broad market, volume was a muted $19.9 million. Of active issues, 12 advanced, 39 declined and 12 were unchanged.

Argentine bond prices slipped as investors also eyed a Thursday vote in the Argentine Senate over a government plan to take over the country's private pension funds.

The move sent Argentine financial markets tumbling when it was announced last month.

Locally traded government bonds shed 0.7 percent on average, with the dollar-denominated Bonar 2014 ARBONAR14=RASL falling 2.4 percent.

The peso weakened 0.15 percent to 3.325/3.3275 per dollar ARS=RASL in formal interbank trade, and fell by the same amount to 3.37/3.375 per dollar ARSB= in informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Kevin Gray; Editing by Leslie Adler)