December 4, 2007 / 9:15 PM / 13 years ago

Argentina stocks down for third session, bonds slip

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks fell for a third straight session on Tuesday, tracking Wall Street lower, traders said, while bonds were also weaker.

The MerVal index .MERV of 25 leading stocks shed 0.23 percent to 2,186.94 points, for an accumulated loss of 2.21 percent in the last three sessions.

Volume on the broad market was a moderate $36.6 million. Among active issues, 39 rose, 48 fell and 13 ended unchanged.

“We continue to see an orderly repositioning that has seen new corrections in the MerVal within a very selective climate,” said Claudio Szlaien, analyst at Marlon Financial Resources.

He added that fund managers were selling selectively as they wait for an announcement from the U.S. Federal Reserve on its interest rate policy. It is due to meet next Tuesday.

Another, widely expected, cut in benchmark overnight U.S. interest rates would make riskier emerging market assets look more attractive for investors seeking higher returns.

The MerVal’s biggest losers included electricity distributors Central Costanera CEC.BA and Central Puerto CEP.BA, which fell 3.71 percent and 2.26 percent to 4.15 pesos per share and 5.62 pesos respectively.

The session’s gainers were led by energy firm Petrobras Participaciones PCH.BA, the Argentine arm of Brazil’s Petrobras (PETR4.SA), whose stock jumped 5.09 percent to 3.72 pesos per share.

Bond prices in Argentina <AR/BONOS> deepened Monday’s losses, slipping 1.1 percent on average in light trade marked by expectation among traders for the country’s November inflation figure, due to be reported on Thursday.

Leading the losers was the peso-denominated Discount bond, which fell 2.2 percent in over-the-counter trade.

In the foreign exchange market, the peso finished broadly stable, with central bank intervention mopping up dollars being sold by exporters and banks, traders said.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso weakened 0.16 percent to 3.1525/3.1550 per U.S. dollar ARSB=. In formal interbank trade, where the central bank intervenes, the peso gained by 0.08 percent to 3.1350/3.1375 per dollar ARS=RASL. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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