Argentina stocks end higher in last-minute surge

jueves 20 de diciembre de 2007 18:19 ART

BUENOS AIRES Dec 20 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks closed higher on Thursday after trading lower much of the day, rising as bimonthly options expired and boosted by a turnaround in global markets, traders said.

The MerVal index .MERV of the 25 leading stocks rose 0.47 percent at 2,140.31 points. The index is up 2.4 percent since the start of the year.

"The closing of positions as options expired sparked upward movement in the MerVal during the last hour of the session, which corresponded to a better external context," said Marcelo Paccione, analyst at ConsultCapital consultancy.

"The gains were supported by shares linked to the options contracts, like Grupo Financiero Galicia, Pampa Holding and Molinos," Paccione said.

Grupo Financiero Galicia (GFG.BA: Cotización) closed 0.45 percent higher at 2.25 pesos a share, while shares in energy group Pampa Holding (PAM.BA: Cotización) ended flat at 2.58 pesos.

Food company Molinos MOL.BA jumped 8.8 percent to 11.1 pesos after the company bought 83.3 percent of rival Grupo Estrella QUE.BA.

Broad market volume moderate at 91.8 million pesos ($29 million). Among active issues, 28 advanced, 26 declined and 23 closed flat.

Government bond prices rose a modest 0.2 percent on average in a quiet session, traders said.

The biggest gainers were the Par bond denominated in dollars, which rose 1.5 percent, and the Boden 2012, which rose 1.1 percent <AR/BONOS>.   Continuación...