Argentine stocks up for eighth consecutive session

miércoles 27 de febrero de 2008 19:10 ARST
 

BUENOS AIRES Feb 27 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks rose for the eight consecutive session on Wednesday, closing at a two-month high on energy stocks.

The benchmark MerVal index .MERV ended up 0.68 percent at 2,166.21 points, for a cumulative 6.23 percent rise in eight sessions.

"Volume bounced back up, and the service sector was assailed by buyers, specifically energy shares," said Leopoldo Olivario, a trader at Bacque brokerage.

The session's winners were led by two energy companies, which rose on expectations for higher prices for electrical power. Edenor EDN.BA rose 2.82 percent to 3.28 pesos per share, and Pampa Holding PAM.BA climbed 1.66 percent to 2.45 pesos.

The market also got a boost from Wall Street stocks, which rallied after the U.S. government lifted investment caps on the two largest mortgage finance companies. The move could unleash billions more dollars to stabilize the housing market and fend off a possible U.S. recession. The U.S. rally later fizzled.

Volume on the broad market totaled a healthy $44.2 million. Of the active issues, 54 advanced, 19 declined and 16 were unchanged.

Government debt prices fell a meager 0.2 percent on average. The session's biggest drop was the dollar-denominated Disc bond, which weakened 0.8 percent. But at the same time the Par bond, also denominated in dollars, rose 1.8 percent.

The peso firmed 0.08 percent at 3.1550/3.1575 per dollar ARS=RASL in formal interbank trade, where the central bank normally intervenes.

However, in informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso ARSB= weakened 0.24 percent to 3.1825/3.1850 per dollar. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Gaspard Sebag; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)