Argentine stocks rise with crude, U.S. market

miércoles 21 de enero de 2009 19:05 ARST

BUENOS AIRES Jan 21 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks rebounded somewhat on Wednesday after sinking in the previous session, buoyed by higher crude oil prices and Wall Street's gains, traders said.

The benchmark MerVal index .MERV ended 1.72 percent higher at 1,062.68. On the broad market, volume was slim at $12.5 million. Of active issues, 13 advanced, 28 declined and 13 were unchanged.

The session's gains were led by Brazilian energy company Petrobras APBR.BA, which jumped 5.2 percent to 43.65 pesos a share, and index heavyweight Tenaris (TENA.BA: Cotización), which makes steel tubes for the energy industry and whose shares gained 3.7 percent to end at 35.40 pesos.

These two companies account for nearly half of the MerVal's weighting.

"The latest rise in oil prices led buyers to seek refuge" in Tenaris and Petrobras, said Juan Pablo Vera, a trader at Tavelli y Compania brokerage.

Argentine government bonds traded over the counter in Buenos Aires fell by an average 0.6 percent, led by the dollar-denominated 2033 Discount bond, which shed 2.4 percent to an ask price of 35.15 ARDISCD=RASL.

Traders said investors kept selling bonds on news the government will issue new debt soon to soak up bank loans known as "guaranteed loans," which date from the 2001-2002 economic crisis and largely mature in the next few years.

Meanwhile, the peso closed mixed against the dollar.

In formal exchange between banks, where the central bank intervenes nearly every day, the peso sank 0.29 percent to 3.4700/3.4725 per dollar ARS=RASL.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso firmed 0.14 percent to 3.5050/3.5100 ARSB=. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Writing by Hilary Burke; Editing by James Dalgleish)