Argentina stocks sprint to 7-week high, peso stable

martes 26 de febrero de 2008 19:37 ARST

BUENOS AIRES Feb 26 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks surged for a seventh session in a row on Tuesday to the highest closing level in nearly two months as pension funds bought market heavyweights expected to post fourth-quarter results.

The benchmark MerVal index .MERV ended up 1.44 percent to 2,151.38 points, its highest closing level since Jan. 2.

The session's winners were led by heavyweight Tenaris TENA.BA TS.N, the world's largest maker of seamless steel tubes for the oil and natural gas industry, with an increase of 1.66 percent to 70.4 pesos per share.

Petrobras Energia Participaciones PCH.BA, a branch of the Brazilian Petrobras APBR.BA, gained 2.37 percent to 3.89 pesos. Energy provider Edenor EDN.BA also rose, 3.24 percent up to 3.19 pesos.

"In light of oil values, Tenaris continued to lead the charge and we could see additional rises," said Antonio Cejuela, an analyst at Puente Hermanos brokerage.

"Institutional investors gave the market a positive impulse," he said.

"In the current conditions we could see the MerVal continue to rise toward the 2,190 points (technical) resistance (level)," said Cejuela.

Volume on the broad market totaled a moderate $37.1 million, and of the active issues, 58 advanced, 14 declined and 16 were unchanged.

Meanwhile, government debt prices rose 1.3 percent on average and the session's biggest winners were the dollar-denominated Disc bond, which firmed 2.1 percent, and the Boden 2014 bond also in dollars with a 1.3 percent rise.

The peso closed steady 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= dipped 0.08 percent to 3.1750/3.1775 per dollar. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Gaspard Sebag; editing by Gary Crosse)