December 10, 2008 / 8:45 PM / 12 years ago

Argentina stocks get boost from oil price rise

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks got a charge on Wednesday from higher crude prices, and the peso also rose in light volume as the central bank sold dollars to reverse a long slump in the country’s currency.

The benchmark MerVal index .MERV closed 3.33 percent higher at 1,060.87. On the broad market volume was dull at $13 million and of active issues 43 advanced, 14 declined and 12 were unchanged.

Bellwether Tenaris TENA.BA, a global leader in steel tubes for the oil industry, was the session’s value leader, rising 2.3 percent to 34.8 pesos per share.

Buenos Aires-listed shares of Brazilian oil company Petrobras APBR.BA roared up 9.5 percent to 38.9 pesos per share.

Tenaris and Petrobras together are weighted at close to a third of the MerVal.

“The MerVal is rising again, thanks to Tenaris and Petrobras in a rebound linked to raw materials, especially petroleum,” said Claudio Szlaien, analyst with Marlon Financial Resources in Buenos Aires.

Oil rose more than 3 percent on Wednesday on signs that OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has slashed supplies to customers for January.

In formal trade between banks the peso gained 0.44 percent to 3.4150/3.4175 per dollar ARS=RASL. In trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, jumped 0.95 percent to 3.4600/3.4650 per dollar ARSB=.

Traders said volume was thin and the price was guided by central bank intervention. Argentina has pursued a policy of sustaining its currency rather than allowing a sharp depreciation as has happened in Mexico and Brazil, but over the past three weeks the currency has slumped steadily.

Sovereign bond prices rose on average in over-the-counter trade in Buenos Aires, led by a 6.2 percent rise in the Boden 2012 peso-denominated bonds to an ask price of 91.2 ARBODEN12=RASL. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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