Argentine stocks, bonds lose on U.S. economy fears

miércoles 21 de noviembre de 2007 17:41 ART

BUENOS AIRES Nov 21 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks and bonds slumped on Wednesday as oil prices came close to $100 a barrel and on concerns over continued weakness in the U.S. economy.

The MerVal index .MERV of the 25 leading stocks lost 1.32 percent to 2,216.15 points in moderately heavy trade of $61 million. Of active issues 34 advanced, 108 declined and 11 were unchanged.

Government bonds on the domestic market gave up 1.5 percent on average, with the peso-denominated Discount bond falling 2.1 percent and the dollar-denominated Discount down 1.8 percent.

"In an environment of a global sell-off of riskier investments our market is just following the external trend," said a bond trader. "Some investors are undoing positions in bonds to buy foreign currency before the end of the year."

Among the value leaders on the stock exchange was the Argentine-listed stock of Brazilian oil company Petrobras APBR.BA, sliding 4.39 percent to 157.75 pesos per share despite higher oil prices.

In the foreign exchange market, the peso currency lost ground as private companies sought dollars ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.

In formal interbank trade the peso weakened by 0.24 percent to 3.1375/3.1400 per dollar ARS=RASL. In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso declined 0.16 percent to 3.1600/3.1625 per dollar ARSB=.