Argentine stocks up on Pampa buyback, gov't buying

jueves 23 de octubre de 2008 19:35 ARST

(Updates with closing prices, businesses call for weaker peso, regulatory action)

BUENOS AIRES Oct 23 (Reuters) - Argentina's peso and bonds slipped on Thursday but a power company's share buyback offer helped stocks reverse a huge three-session slide on concerns over a surprise nationalization of the private pension system.

The MerVal .MERV index of leading stocks closed 2.43 percent higher at 963.7 points, after falling 23 percent over the three previous sessions.

"We had a MerVal recovery sustained by some opportunity buying and by some government intervention in buying of shares," said Hernan Labrone, analyst with Fenix financial company.

Brokerages related with state banks were buying shares, traders said.

Volume leader was Pampa Energia (PAM.BA: Cotización), an owner of electrical power distribution and transmission firms which jumped more than 5 percent to 0.885 peso per share after the firm offered to buy back about 4.6 percent of its capital, or 70 million shares at 0.95 peso each.

After stocks trading closed, government regulator the National Securities Commission, said it would temporarily suspend the 10 percent limit on companies buying back their own shares, due to the extreme volatility on the financial markets.

Volume on the broad market was moderate at $30 million. Of active issues 21 rose, 28 fell and 15 were unchanged.

Investors have been extremely concerned about the government plan to take over $30 billion in private pension funds, because they are the biggest players on the local financial markets.   Continuación...