BUENOS AIRES, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks ended higher on Thursday for a second session, tracking Wall Street, while bonds got a lift from a higher-than-expected monthly inflation figure in Argentina, traders said.
The MerVal index .MERV of 25 leading stocks climbed 1.36 percent to 2,241.94 points.
Volume on the broad market was a thin $23.4 million. Among active issues, 47 rose, 26 fell and 16 ended unchanged.
Traders said stocks clocked strong gains after a U.S. mortgage relief plan eased investor concern of a credit crunch that could reduce capital flows to riskier emerging markets.
“The reaction to the U.S. mortgage rescue plan in international markets helped the (Argentine) bourse,” said Ruben Pascuali, a trader at the Mayoral Bursatil brokerage.
“There are other factors influencing the MerVal’s rebound such as expectations for an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the swearing in of a new (Argentine) government,” he added.
President-elect Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner takes office on Monday and the Fed meets next week.
The MerVal’s gainers were led by petrochemical firm Indupa INU.BA, which rose 5.67 percent to 4.1 pesos per share and banking group Grupo Financiero Galicia GFG.BA, which rose 4.72 percent to 2.44 pesos per share.
Bond prices <AR/BONOS> traded flat for most of the session but closed with an average gain of 0.9 percent after the Argentine government reported a November inflation figure that was slightly higher than expected by the market.
Argentina’s inflation figures weigh heavily on the bond market because nearly 40 percent of the country’s debt is inflation-indexed.
In the foreign exchange market, the peso finished slightly weaker as private and state banks snapped up dollars.
In formal interbank trade, where the central bank intervenes, the peso gave up 0.08 percent to 3.1325/3.135 per dollar ARS=RASL. In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso firmed by the same margen to 3.1525/3.155 per U.S. dollar ARSB=. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)