February 11, 2008 / 9:34 PM / 12 years ago

Argentina stocks inch up, volume hits record

BUENOS AIRES, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks rose on Monday, propelled by gains among oil-related companies and with a record trade volume due to the impact of an acquisition offer for shares in steelmaker Acindar.

The MerVal index .MERV of 42 leading stocks rose 0.43 percent to 2,001.26 points, following four sessions of losses.

“The rise in oil prices helped related stocks such as Brazil’s Petrobras and Petrobras Participaciones (the company’s Argentine unit),” said Juan Diedrich, a broker at Capital Markets Argentina brokerage.

The session’s winners were led by Buenos Aires-listed Petrobras APBR.BA, which gained 2.91 percent to end at 183.7 pesos per share, and Petrobras Participaciones PCH.BA, which rose 1.63 percent to 3.75 pesos.

This Monday oil prices rose after Venezuela threatened to suspend exports to the United States because of the intensification of a legal battle between the OPEC member and Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N).

Volume on the broad market totaled an all-time-high of $187.8 million, with 35 issues advancing, 37 retreating and 18 unchanged.

The record volume was linked to an operation completed today by ArcelorMittal ISPA.AS, the world’s biggest steel group, to increase its controlling stake in Argentina’s Acindar ACI.BA to 99.5 percent.

The previous historical volume high had been reached in September 2007, topping around $95 million.

This week Argentine banks are due to present their earnings reports for the fourth quarter of 2007.

On the local debt market, Argentine sovereign bonds <AR/BONOS> closed down 0.5 percent on average.

The losses were led by Boden 2014 bonds, dropping 2.4 percent. On the other hand, peso-denominated Par bonds rose 1.4 percent.

The peso currency ARS=RASL firmed 0.08 percent at 3.1650/3.1675 per dollar in formal interbank trade, where the central bank intervenes.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso ARSB= also firmed 0.08 percent to end at 3.1650/3.1675 per dollar. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Gaspard Sebag; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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