BUENOS AIRES, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks retreated slightly on Monday, pulled down by Wall Street after renewed concerns about the impact of the U.S. housing slump weighed on financial shares in New York.
The MerVal index .MERV of 25 leading stocks shed 0.68 percent to 2,2192.07 points, reversing early gains.
Volume on the broad market was a slack $21.4 million. Among active issues, 21 rose, 55 fell and 12 ended unchanged.
"The MerVal continued its fall thanks to the Dow Jones and losses in banking and energy shares," said Jorge Alberti, an analyst at ElAccionista.com. "It appears institutional investors have lost their interest in current prices."
Energy distributor Central Costanera CEC.BA led losers, falling 3.15 percent to 4.31 pesos. Banco Hipotecario BHI.BA fell 2.17 percent to 2.25 pesos.
Bond prices in Argentina <AR/BONOS> fell by 0.5 percent on average as investors pocketed profits after gains of nearly 4 percent in recent trading sessions.
Argentina's dollar-denominated Boden 14 fell 1.3 percent in over-the-counter selling.
In the foreign exchange market, the peso firmed as exporters sold dollars and private investors sought pesos to buy local assets, with central bank intervention stemming a further rise, traders said.
In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso strengthened 0.24 percent to 3.1475/3.15 per U.S. dollar ARSB=. In formal interbank trade, where the central bank intervenes, the peso gained by 0.16 percent to 3.1375/3.14 per dollar ARS=RASL. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi; Writing by Kevin Gray; Editing by Leslie Adler)