BUENOS AIRES, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks rose slightly on Monday, mirroring gains on Wall Street, in a half-day session sparked by the presidential inauguration of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
The stock exchange closed at 2 p.m. local time (1700 GMT), three hours earlier than usual, due to the transfer of power from President Nestor Kirchner to his politician wife, scheduled for around 3 p.m. local time (1800 GMT).
The MerVal index .MERV of 25 leading stocks closed up 0.27 percent at 2,244.97 points, tracking early gains in U.S. stocks.
Volume on the broad market was a thin 22.9 million pesos ($7.3 million). Among active issues, 34 rose, 18 fell and 12 ended unchanged.
Traders said investors have all eyes trained on Tuesday's U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, where an interest rate cut is expected to be ordered to stave off an economic slowdown.
"The MerVal moved in line with the optimism shown by U.S. markets toward the Fed meeting," said Hernan Labrone, an analyst at Fenix Compania Financiera.
The session's leader was agro-industrial firm Cresud CRE.BA, the shares of which rose 3.33 percent to 6.2 pesos.
On the debt market, bonds <AR/BONOS> ended with an average gain of 0.6 percent in thin trade.
On the foreign exchange market, the peso finished unchanged ahead of Monday's presidential swearing-in ceremony.
In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso closed stable at 3.15/3.1525 per U.S. dollar ARSB=. In formal interbank trade, where the central bank intervenes, the peso also ended flat at 3.1375/3.14 per dollar ARS=RASL. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Writing by Hilary Burke; Editing by Andrea Ricci)