October 23, 2007 / 2:03 AM / 13 years ago

Argentina stocks flat ahead of key U.S. data release

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks closed unchanged on Thursday as investors held out for the results of an upcoming U.S. employment report.

The benchmark MerVal .MERV index closed steady at 2,254.32 points, without a percentage change.

“Nobody wants to take any risks ahead of the release of employment information in the United States (on Friday),” said Marcelo Paccione, an analyst with ConsulCapital.

“As a result, we’re not seeing any big movements on the majority of markets around the world. Here (in Buenos Aires), only domestic paper and specific cases moved,” he added.

Gains on the MerVal were led by textile company Alpargatas ALP.BA, which rose 3.97 percent to 5.5 pesos per share, and energy transport firm Transener TRA.BA, which was up 1.05 percent at 1.93 pesos per share.

Volume on Argentina’s broad market was moderate at 87.8 million pesos ($27.5 million). Of active issues, 34 advanced, 36 declined and 14 were unchanged.

Bond prices on the local market <AR/BONOS> fell 0.3 percent on average due to a loss of interest from institutional investors, particularly local mutual funds, traders said.

On the foreign exchange market, the peso weakened slightly against the dollar in a calm session.

The peso dipped 0.08 percent to 3.1950/3.1975 per U.S. dollar in trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters ARSB=.

In interbank trade, where the central bank intervenes almost daily, it weakened 0.08 percent to close at 3.1525/3.1555 pesos per dollar ARS=RASL.

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