Argentina stocks, bonds end flat on profit-taking
BUENOS AIRES May 22 (Reuters) - Argentina's stock, currency and bond market trends on Friday:
* The MerVal stocks index .MERV ended near flat on profit-taking, trimming earlier gains as Wall Street turned lower. The index closed up just 0.09 percent at 1,562.5 points -- its highest level since early October.
* The MerVal is up 22.5 percent since May 1 and rose 8.6 percent this week.
* Banking stocks were most affected by the profit-taking. Banco Macro (BMA.BA: Cotización) (BMA.N: Cotización) fell 1.83 percent to 5.87 pesos per share while financial group Grupo Financiero Galicia (GFG.BA: Cotización) shed 0.9 percent to 1.09 pesos per share.
* On the broader stock market, volume was thin at $15.4 million. Among active issues, 42 advanced, 22 declined and 18 ended unchanged.
* Prices for government bonds traded over-the-counter in Buenos Aires also ended almost flat as investors sought to lock in recent gains, closing with an average rise of just 0.1 percent.
* The dollar-denominated Par bond ARPARD=RASL rose 2.8 percent, while the same paper in pesos ARPARP=RASL fell 2 percent, according to the ask price.
* In formal exchange between banks, the Argentine peso closed stable in thin trade due to a pay strike by banking sector workers. It ended at 3.735/3.7375 per dollar ARS=RASL.
* In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso dipped 0.13 percent to end at 3.80/3.805 ARSB=.
* Argentine markets will be closed on Monday for a national holiday. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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