Argentine stocks fall amid regional sell-off

jueves 26 de junio de 2008 18:10 ART

BUENOS AIRES, June 26 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks fell on Thursday, pressured by losses in bourses throughout the region, while bonds slipped further and the peso weakened.

The benchmark MerVal stock index .MERV shed 0.92 percent to end at 2,072.48 points. The U.S. and Brazilian markets both slumped about 3 percent.

"The MerVal was once again pressured by a massive tumble in international prices, which prompted more aggressive selling in banking and service company shares," said Hernan Labrone, an analyst at Fenix Compania Financiera.

Losses were led by Argentine banking group Grupo Financiero Galicia (GFG.BA: Cotización), which sank 6.85 percent to 1.63 pesos a share.

The MerVal's fall was cushioned by gains in index heavyweight Tenaris TENA.BA, a world leader in making steel tubes for the energy industry, which got a boost from record-high crude prices. Tenaris rose 2.29 percent to 111.80 pesos.

Trade volume rose to a moderate $33.7 million. Of active issues 8 rose, 67 fell and 15 were unchanged.

On the local debt market, Argentine bonds <AR/BONOS> fell by 1.2 percent on average in over-the-counter trade.

Argentina's debt spreads over comparable U.S. Treasuries widened 23 basis points to 604 11EMJ, their worst performance since late April, according to JPMorgan's EMBI+ index.

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