Argentine stocks fall with U.S., bonds rise on buyback

lunes 25 de agosto de 2008 17:21 ART

BUENOS AIRES Aug 25 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks slumped on Monday in sympathy with markets in Brazil, Mexico and the United States, while bond prices rose in anticipation of the next installment of a government debt buyback program.

The MerVal index .MERV fell 0.92 percent to 1,744.74 points in moderate volume of $30 million. Of active issues 26 advanced, 43 declined and 11 were unchanged.

Heavily weighted oil-related stocks such as Tenaris (TENA.BA: Cotización) and Brazilian state oil company Petrobras APBR.BA, were among the value leaders.

Tenaris, which sells steel pipes to the oil industry, slipped 1.8 percent to 80.3 pesos per share, while the Argentine-listed shares of Petrobras gave up 3.06 percent to 79.0 pesos per share.

"The MerVal remained linked to the big drop in the U.S. market and the limited volume kept the fall from being steeper," said Marcelo Paccione, analyst with ConsultCapital in Buenos Aires.

Argentine sovereign debt prices rose on average 0.5 percent in over-the-counter trade in Buenos Aires, with the dollar-nominated Par bond jumping 3.4 percent.

The government launched a debt buyback program this month and has already repurchased $380 million in sovereign bonds. Beginning this week the government plans to hold weekly auctions to take offers from banks interested in selling back bonds.

The peso currency weakened 0.08 percent to 3.0250/3.0275 per dollar ARS=RASL in formal exchange between banks. In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso was unchanged at 3.0675/3.0700 per dollar ARSB=. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi, writing by Fiona Ortiz)