May 6, 2008 / 9:09 PM / 12 years ago

Argentine stocks rise on oil prices; bonds fall

BUENOS AIRES, May 6 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks rose on Tuesday as record crude oil prices lifted energy-related shares, while the peso and bonds finished weaker.

The MerVal index .MERV of leading stocks ended up 1.02 percent at 2,127.09 points. Volume on the broad market was a healthy $49.7 million and of active issues, 76 advanced, 22 declined and 17 were unchanged.

U.S. crude oil futures ended above $121 a barrel amid supply concerns and a report by investment bank Goldman Sachs predicting oil could rise to $150 to $200 a barrel.

“The record price helped Petrobras and Tenaris,” said Marcelo Paccione, an analyst at ConsultCapital.

The MerVal also got a boost from stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings from steelmaker Siderar (SID.BA), he said.

On Monday, Siderar reported its net profit in the first three months of the year rose by 87.5 percent to 566.1 million pesos due in part to higher sales. Siderar shares closed 0.75 percent higher at 26.1 pesos.

Shares in index heavyweight and steelmaker Tenaris TENA.BA — the world’s leading producer of seamless steel tubes for the energy industry — rose 0.77 percent to 88.7 pesos due to optimism about its first-quarter earnings, due later on Tuesday.

The local listing of Brazilian state-run energy Petrobras APBR.BA gained 2.8 percent to close at 104.5 pesos.

Argentina’s locally traded bonds <AR/BONOS> slipped 0.7 percent on average on Tuesday in light trade marked by investor caution over the outcome of a meeting between farmers and the governemnt aimed at averting a repeat of March’s farm strike.

Peso-denominated debt was the hardest hit on Tuesday, with the Par bond plunging 2.9 percent in over-the-counter trade.

Tension over the farm talks also triggered dollar purchases, sending the peso lower.

In formal interbank trade, the peso fell 0.08 percent to 3.1750/3.1775 per dollar ARS=RASL. In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, it weakened by 0.24 percent to 3.23/3.2325 per dollar <ARSB=.

About 40 percent of currency trade takes place informally between foreign exchange houses. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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