Argentina stocks rise, peso dips to seven-year low
BUENOS AIRES May 21 (Reuters) - Argentina's stock, currency and bond market trends on Thursday:
* The MerVal stocks index .MERV rose for a fourth straight session due to selective buying, bucking the global trend and reversing midday losses to close up 0.69 percent at 1,560.85 points -- its highest level since October.
* The index is up 22.4 percent since May 1 and has risen 8.5 percent this week.
* Energy group Pampa Energia PAM.BA rose 9.4 percent to 1.16 pesos per share and MerVal heavyweight Tenaris (TENA.BA: Cotización), which makes steel tubes for the global energy industry, gained 0.73 percent to 55.6 pesos per share.
* On the broader stock market, volume was thin at $16 million. Among active issues, 26 advanced, 30 declined and 20 ended unchanged.
* Prices for government bonds traded over-the-counter in Buenos Aires fell 2.0 percent on average on profit-taking after five sessions of gains that saw an average rise of 8.7 percent.
* The losses were led by peso-denominated Par paper ARPARP=RASL, which fell 4 percent, according to the ask price.
* In formal exchange between banks, the Argentine peso closed at its weakest level in seven years, falling 0.13 percent to 3.735/3.7375 per dollar ARS=RASL due to central bank dollar purchases aimed at boosting exports, traders said.
* In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso dipped 0.07 percent to end at 3.795/3.8 ARSB=.
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