January 5, 2009 / 8:47 PM / 12 years ago

Argentine stocks rise on crude, peso and bonds firm

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks closed up on Monday for the fifth straight session, buoyed by energy-related stocks as crude oil prices shot upward, traders said.

The benchmark MerVal index .MERV ended 0.74 percent higher at 1,151.80 points after rising by as much as 3.1 percent earlier in the day. The MerVal has accumulated gains of nearly 11 percent since Dec. 23.

U.S. crude futures settled more than 5 percent higher on Monday, compensating for a downturn in U.S. stocks.

“The MerVal’s movement tracked the rebound in crude oil, but gains were modest due to the ups and downs on the Dow Jones” industrial average, said Claudio Szlaien, an analyst at Marlon Recursos Financieros.

The session’s gains were led by the Argentine unit of Brazil’s state energy company Petrobras, Petrobras Participaciones PCH.BA, which jumped 5.5 percent to 2.49 pesos a share.

Trade volume on the broad market remained modest at $13.4 million. Of active shares, 37 rose, 14 fell and 13 were unchanged.

Locally traded Argentine bonds gained 1.3 percent on average in moderately active, over-the-counter trade, with the dollar-denominated Discount 2033 ARDISCD=RASL rising 2.6 percent to an ask price of 34.90.

On the foreign exchange market, the peso firmed as the central bank and exporters cashed in dollars, traders said.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses ARSB= as measured by Reuters, the peso strengthened 0.64 percent to 3.51/3.515 to the dollar.

In formal interbank trade ARS=RASL, where the central bank regularly intervenes, the local currency gained 0.22 percent to end at 3.45/3.4525 per dollar. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Hilary Burke; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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