UPDATE 1-Argentine stocks rise with Tenaris, peso flat

jueves 19 de junio de 2008 17:53 ART

(Updates with closing prices)

BUENOS AIRES, June 19 (Reuters) - Argentina's peso closed unchanged on Thursday after touching a two-year high intraday as the Central Bank sold dollars to stabilize the currency during a political crisis.

Most stocks fell, but the benchmark index rose led by heavyweight oil-linked issue Tenaris (TENA.BA: Cotización), which skyrocketed almost 10 percent to a record high of 109.3 pesos per share.

Tenaris was boosted because options to buy the stock expired on Thursday and because of a good outlook for demand for its steel tubes for the oil industry as crude prices remain high.

"The fundamentals of the (oil) sector are still good," said Antonio Cejuela, an analyst with Puente Hermanos brokerage in Buenos Aires.

The peso ARS=RASL closed flat at 3.0325/3.0350 per dollar in formal interbank trade, after touching 3.0250/3.0275 during the day, its strongest level in two years.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso strengthened 0.32 percent to 3.1075/3.1100 per dollar ARSB=.

Traders said the central bank continued tapping its foreign reserves to shore up the peso and avoid a run on the currency, as a three-month tax dispute between the government and farmers kept the country alert to possible food and fuel shortages.

Farm leaders extended their latest partial strike through Friday, vowing to withhold grains from market but allow other farm products to be sold.   Continuación...