Argentina stocks gain as Fed holds rates steady

miércoles 25 de junio de 2008 18:17 ART

BUENOS AIRES, June 25 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks rallied in line with other regional markets on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept its key interest rate unchanged, traders said, while trade in bonds and the peso remained jittery.

The benchmark MerVal stock index .MERV rose 1.17 percent to 2,091.92 points, led by stocks linked to commodities and energy. Volume stayed a slack $19.6 million, with more than $3 million of that accounted for by blue-chip steelmaker Tenaris (TENA.BA: Cotización).

"The MerVal reacted to the Fed's decision, with investors buying up stocks that have fallen sharply in recent sessions," said Horacio Corneille, a trader who runs his namesake brokerage.

A decision to raise U.S. interest rates would have made riskier emerging market assets less attractive.

Among the biggest gainers in Buenos Aires was Brazil's state-run energy company Petrobras (APBR.BA: Cotización), which gained 3.77 percent to 110 pesos per share.

Of active issues 30 rose, 27 fell and 17 were unchanged.

On the local debt market, Argentine bonds <AR/BONOS> closed mixed in light trade for a second session due to persistent political uncertainty both inside Argentina and abroad.

In Argentina, investors are watching for a resolution in a three-month conflict between the government and the country's farmers. They are also tracking the health of the U.S. economy after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged.

Locally traded government debt inched up 0.2 percent on average. The session's gainers were led by the dollar-denominated Boden 2014 bond, which gained 2.7 percent. The Discount bond in pesos fell 1.3 percent.   Continuación...