BUENOS AIRES, July 2 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks plunged on Tuesday, pressured by the losses of other regional markets and by profit-taking in energy-related shares, while bonds were also weaker, traders said.
The benchmark MerVal stock index .MERV dropped 2.96 percent to end at 2,033.03 points, and index heavyweight Tenaris TENA.BA TS.N — the world’s top producer of seamless steel pipes for the energy industry — slumped 5.39 percent to 110.5 pesos per share.
“The MerVal’s slide came as a result of a general downturn in global markets. In contrast with other days, that was aggravated by the losses of energy stocks due to heavy profit-taking despite the record crude price,” said Leopoldo Olivari, a trader at the Bacque brokerage.
A prolonged conflict between farmers and the Argentine government continues to cause uncertainty, he added.
Elsewhere in the region, Brazilian stocks .BVSP fell 3.61 percent and Mexico’s IPC index .MXX shed 1.85 percent.
Trade volume in Buenos Aires picked up slightly to $40 million. Of active issues, 69 fell, 43 rose and 13 were unchanged.
On the local debt market, Argentine bonds <AR/BONOS> took a beating, falling by 1.5 percent on average in over-the-counter trade due to growing risk aversion among investors, traders said.
Among the hardest hit was the peso-denominated Par bond, which plunged 3.1 percent.
On the foreign exchange market, the peso ARS=RASL firmed slightly by 0.08 percent to 3.0175/3.02 per dollar due to continued dollar sales by the central bank as it seeks to prop up the peso.
In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso slipped by 0.49 percent to close at 3.0575/3.06 per dollar ARSB=.
The bank has been selling dollars to bolster the peso amid uncertainty surrounding a farm dispute that began in mid-March over export taxes on soy. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Diane Craft)