November 7, 2007 / 9:15 PM / 13 years ago

Argentine stocks end flat after earlier gains

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks closed flat on Wednesday, trimming early gains due to the downward slide of other global markets, traders said.

The MerVal index .MERV of 25 leading stocks ended up just 0.04 percent at 2,298.82 points in the second session of the week following a market holiday on Tuesday. Trade volume in Buenos Aires was a hefty 251 million pesos ($79.4 million).

“The MerVal ended steady because it was strongly affected by the sharp negative correction of Wall Street, which wiped out the initial gains,” said Francisco Marra, a trader at Bull Markets Brokers.

Heading the losers in Buenos Aires was food group Molinos MOL.BA, which saw its stock fall 6.28 percent to 11.2 pesos per share, and the Argentine arm of Brazilian energy firm Petrobras Participaciones PCH.BA, which fell 4.37 percent to 3.5 pesos per share.

Argentina’s government announced sweeping hikes in export taxes for basic food goods such as wheat and corn, raising speculation that fuels could face similar increases, traders said.

In the debt market, Argentine bonds <AR/BONOS> closed lower in choppy trade as investors watch for clear indications of the U.S. economy’s health.

Bonds fell 1.5 percent on average. Leading the slide was the peso-denominated Boden 2014, which fell 1.7 percent, and Discount paper in pesos, which shed 1.3 percent.

The peso currency ARSB= firmed just 0.08 percent to end at 3.1600/3.1625 per U.S. dollar in informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters.

In formal interbank trade, where the central bank regularly intervenes to keep the peso steady, the currency strengthened by 0.16 percent to 3.125/3.1275 per dollar ARS=RASL. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Translated by Helen Popper; editing by Jonathan Oatis; )

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