September 1, 2008 / 8:48 PM / in 12 years

Argentine stocks and bonds flat as trade dries up

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks ended flat on Monday as trade volume shrank due to the Labor Day holiday in the United States, while no bonds changed hands in the local debt market.

The benchmark MerVal index .MERV ended up just 0.09 percent at 1,778.81 points. Trade volume was a meager $2.8 million. Of active shares, 18 rose, 22 fell and 18 were unchanged.

“Without the United States, the MerVal was shaped by losses in commodities that hit energy-related stocks,” said Hernan Labrone, an analyst at Fenix Compania Financiera brokerage.

Among the session’s losers was Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras APBR.BA, which slipped 1.79 percent to 79.5 pesos per share. Gainers included entertainment group Comercial del Plata COM.BA, gaining 5.71 percent to 0.481 peso.

Argentine debt in the local market did not trade on Monday, due to the national holiday in the United States, which stripped the market of its usual direction and the involvement of fund managers.

The peso closed with light gains, rising 0.08 percent against the dollar to 3.0275/3.03 ARS=RASL in interbank transactions and firming by 0.25 percent 3.055/3.0575 ARSB= in informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Helen Popper, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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