BUENOS AIRES, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks surged higher on Monday thanks largely to heavyweight Tenaris's rise ahead of its quarterly earnings report on Wednesday.
The benchmark MerVal index .MERV closed 1.55 percent higher at 2,120.74 points.
Shares in Tenaris (TENA.BA) TS.N, the world's largest maker of seamless steel tubes for the oil and natural gas industry, rose 4.77 percent to 69.25 pesos in Buenos Aires amid optimism over the energy sector's prospects.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters expect Tenaris to post a 25 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit due to lower sales and higher costs for raw materials, but forecast earnings would still be higher than in the third quarter of 2007.
"The renewed interest in Tenaris spread to the rest of the market, specifically shares in the same sector such as Socotherm," said Francisco Marra, a broker at Bull Markets Brokers.
Shares in Socotherm SOC.BA, a tube coating company, rose 4.85 percent to 17.3 pesos per share.
Volume on the broad market was a moderate $26.6 million, and of the active issues, 42 advanced, 21 declined and 20 were unchanged.
Meanwhile, government debt prices rose 0.3 percent on average and the session's biggest winner was the Par bond in pesos, which firmed 1.6 percent in over-the-counter trade.
The peso closed 0.08 percent weaker at 3.1575/3.1600 per dollar ARS=RASL in formal interbank trade, where the central bank normally intervenes.
In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso ARSB= firmed 0.08 percent to 3.1725/3.1750 per dollar. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Gaspard Sebag; Editing by James Dalgleish)