April 7, 2008 / 9:33 PM / 12 years ago

Argentina stocks down on oil-related profit-taking

BUENOS AIRES, April 7 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks slipped on Monday as investors took profits on oil-related shares, erasing gains from earlier in the session.

The benchmark MerVal stock index .MERV dipped 0.26 percent to 2,146.28 points.

“Profit-taking in oil-related companies in the latter part of the session dragged the MerVal down,” said Claudio Szlaien, an analyst at Marlon Recursos Financieros.

The market trend shifted, mainly due to index heavyweight Tenaris TENA.BA, the world’s top producer of seamless steel tubes for the oil and natural gas industry, which shed 0.61 percent to end at 81 pesos per share in Buenos Aires.

Another important drop was in shares of Petrobras Energia Participaciones PCH.BA, the local unit of Brazil’s state-owned Petrobras, which slid 2.38 percent to 3.69 pesos.

The MerVal fell in line with the Brazilian market .BVSP, which lost 0.42 percent amid profit-taking after closing higher for five straight sessions.

“Many doubts remain after the gains of the last few weeks. The MerVal, with low volume, is unable to reach the 2,200 mark,” Szlaien added.

On the broad market, volume was a meager $24.3 million. Of the active issues, 30 declined, 26 advanced and 15 ended unchanged.

Meanwhile the peso appreciated 0.16 percent to 3.1575/3.1600 ARS=RASL per dollar in formal interbank trade, where the central bank regularly intervenes.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso ARSB= firmed 0.08 percent to 3.1800/3.1825.

On the debt market, government bonds <AR/BONOS> fell 0.5 percent on average. The session’s losers were led by the peso-denominated Par bond, which shed 0.7 percent, and the Discount bond denominated in dollars, which dropped by 0.6 percent. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Gaspard Sebag)

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