March 6, 2008 / 9:24 PM / 12 years ago

Argentina stocks, peso dip on U.S. economy concerns

BUENOS AIRES, March 6 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks slipped on Thursday amid a regional sell-off by investors concerned about the turmoil in U.S. credit and housing markets.

The benchmark MerVal index .MERV ended down 0.13 percent at 2,179.07 points, but was cushioned by gains in heavyweight Tenaris, a global provider of steel tubes to the oil and gas industry.

The MerVal drifted lower in line with shares on Wall Street, where investors sold off financial shares on news U.S. “jumbo” mortgage lender Thornburg Mortgage Inc TMA.N said it received a letter from JPMorgan Chase notifying it of a default after it failed to meet a margin call.

“The MerVal resisted against the bearish trend thanks to Tenaris,” said Dionisio Corneille, a trader at the brokerage that bears his name.

Shares in Tenaris, TENA.BA (TS.N) closed up 0.45 percent at 78.6 pesos per share.

Volume on the broad market totaled a modest $29.3 million. Among active issues, 38 advanced, 35 declined and 15 ended unchanged.

Meanwhile, government debt prices <AR/BONOS> fell 1.5 percent on average. The session’s losers were led by the dollar-denominated Boden 14 bond, which dropped 2.4 percent in over-the-counter trade.

The peso weakened 0.08 percent to close at 3.1525/3.1550 per dollar ARS=RASL in formal interbank trade, where the central bank normally intervenes.

On the other hand, in informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso ARSB= firmed the same percentage to 3.1725/3.1750 per dollar. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Gaspard Sebag; editing by Gary Crosse)

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