Argentine stocks rise on farm conflict optimism

lunes 23 de junio de 2008 18:07 ART

BUENOS AIRES, June 23 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks gained on Monday for the fourth straight session on investor hopes a meeting between President Cristina Fernandez and farm leaders will ease tensions in a drawn-out conflict over farm export taxes.

The benchmark MerVal stock index .MERV rose 1.22 percent to 2,091.55 points, lifted by gains in bank Banco Hipotecario (BHI.BA: Cotización), which climbed 9.32 percent to close at 1.29 pesos.

The MerVal has risen 2.73 percent since Wednesday.

Fernandez and farm leaders are expected to sit down later on Monday for the first time since mid-April. Farmers have launched a series of strikes to protest a hike on grains exports.

Hoping to defuse the conflict, the Argentine leader asked Congress last week to vote on the tax, and lawmakers began discussing the issue on Monday.

"Congress taking up the tax issue added optimism to the market," said Jorge Alberti, an analyst at

Trade volume was a slack $18.2 million. Of active issues 43 rose, 30 fell and 18 were unchanged.

On the foreign exchange market, the peso ARS=RASL firmed to a near 30-month high, rising 0.5 percent to close at 3.0175/3.2 per dollar.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso strengthened 0.65 percent to 3.0775/3.08 per dollar ARSB=, a level last reached at the end of 2006.   Continuación...