Argentine stocks inch higher led by banking shares

martes 31 de marzo de 2009 18:40 ART

BUENOS AIRES, March 31 (Reuters) - Argentina's stock, currency and bond market trends on Tuesday.

* MerVal stocks index .MERV rose 0.23 percent to 1125.95 points, pushed higher by gains in banking shares.

* Grupo Financiero Galicia GFG.BA, a leading Argentine banking conglomerate, rose 3.4 percent to 0.69 pesos a share and Banco Fraces advanced 2.78 percent to 3.33 pesos a share.

* "Prices rebounded as investors took up end-of-the month positions and bought banking shares, which have not accompanied recent gains," said Claudio Szlaien, an analyst at Marlon Recursos Financieros.

* On the broad market, volume was a light $13.8 million. Of active issues 30 advanced, 23 declined and 13 were unchanged.

* Argentine bonds fell in light trade. Locally traded debt averaged a loss of 0.8 percent.

* The dollar-denominated Par bond ARPARD=RASL fell 2.7 percent, according to the ask price.

* The Argentine peso closed mixed as the central bank intervened to keep the currency from weakening further, traders said.

* In formal exchange between banks, the peso weakened 0.07 percent to 3.7175/3.72 per dollar ARS=RASL.

* In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso gained 0.66 percent to 3.7875/3.7925 ARSB=. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi; Writing by Kevin Gray)