April 11, 2008 / 9:35 PM / 12 years ago

Argentina stocks fall on global downturn

BUENOS AIRES, April 11 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks dropped on Friday in line with foreign markets as weak economic and corporate earnings data in the United States cast fresh recession fears.

The benchmark MerVal stock index .MERV fell 0.95 percent to 2,115.12 points, accumulating a 2.02 percent drop over the last three sessions.

Oil-related and bank shares led losses. BBVA Banco Frances FRA.BA shed 4.11 percent to 7.47 pesos, and Buenos Aires-listed shares of Brazilian state oil company Petrobras APBR.BA fell 2.17 percent to 180 pesos.

“While it remains clear that the MerVal was responsive to the fall of the Dow, it was shares with strong liquidity that defined the session’s trend,” said Francisco Marra, a trader at Bull Market brokerage.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI slid 2.04 percent, or 256.56 points, as a downbeat forcast from General Electric Co (GE.N) and data showing consumer sentiment at a 26-year low added to worries about a recession.

Shares of media and telecommunications company Grupo Clarin SA CLA.BA slumped 4.69 percent to 19.3 pesos per share in heavy volume after government officials and allies strongly criticized Clarin’s flagship newspaper and journalists.

On the broad market, volume was a moderate $30 million. Of the active issues, 47 declined, 14 advanced and 13 ended unchanged.

Meanwhile, on the debt market, government bonds <AR/BONOS> fell 0.9 percent as investors were disappointed by the March inflation index announced at 1.1 percent on Thursday evening, bellow analyst expectations.

Some 40 percent of Argentine debt is linked to the inflation index and gains value when inflation is higher.

The session’s losers were led by the dollar-denominated Par bond, which dropped 1.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the peso firmed 0.08 percent to close at 3.1525/3.1550 ARS=RASL per dollar in formal interbank trade, where the central bank regularly intervenes.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso ARSB= appreciated 0.24 percent to 3.1875/3.1900. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Gaspard Sebag; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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