BUENOS AIRES, June 10 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks sank on Tuesday for the third straight session, pressured by a drop in global commodities prices and tracking losses in neighboring Brazil, traders said.
The benchmark MerVal stocks index .MERV fell 2.42 percent to end at 2,109.73 points. Brazilian stocks .BVSP also closed down more than 2 percent.
“A hefty drop in commodities prices hits the MerVal hard, along with the rest of the emerging markets bourses,” said Jorge Alberti, an analyst at online brokerage Elaccionista.com.
Energy companies that fluctuate with crude oil prices have a major presence on the MerVal, and Argentina is a leading global supplier of grains such as soybeans, corn and wheat.
“Although the fall in crude oil prices affected the market, there was also a general decline in the top companies,” Mariano Tavelli of Tavelli y Compania brokerage said.
Losses were led by Telecom Argentina (TEC2.BA), which fell nearly 6.0 percent to 11.1 pesos a share, and Brazilian state energy company Petrobras APBR.BA (PETR4.SA), which shed 2.2 percent to end at 107 pesos in Buenos Aires.
On Argentina’s broad market, volume was healthy at around $42.5 million. Of active issues, 8 advanced, 66 declined and 7 were unchanged.
Government debt traded locally fell an average 0.8 percent in over-the-counter trade, with losses led by dollar-denominated Discount bonds, which shed 1.4 percent.
Investors have been rattled by a three-month-long standoff between the government and farmers over a tax hike on soy exports, which has sparked several farm strikes and some food shortages early on.
The peso currency closed stable to firmer as the central bank continued selling dollars on the market, traders said. In formal interbank trade, the peso was unchanged at 3.0625/3.0650 per dollar ARS=RASL.
In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso ended 0.24 percent firmer at 3.1400/3.1425 per dollar ARSB=.
The central bank has been selling its foreign reserves to sustain the peso in recent weeks, after uncertainty over the farm protests sent investors scrambling for greenbacks. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Hilary Burke)