BUENOS AIRES, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks rose on Wednesday after four straight losses, lifted by gains among energy-related shares and banks, which got a boost from government bond buying.
The benchmark MerVal index .MERV closed up 2.73 percent at 1,742.93 points. In the last four sessions, it clocked a loss of 9.35 percent.
“There was a lot of buying by the pension funds, which provoked a pretty strong gain, added to the commodities rebound,” said Augusto Farina, a trader at the Amirante Galitis brokerage.
Oil prices bounced back on Wednesday, fueling gains in energy companies such as Brazil’s state-run oil firm Petrobras (APBR.BA), which rose 5.2 percent to 80.6 pesos per share.
A strong performance by bonds helped banking stocks including Grupo Financiero Galicia (GFG.BA), which climbed 5.4 percent to 1.36 pesos.
Local banks are among the biggest holders of Argentine bonds.
Trade volume on the overall market was a moderate $34 million. Of active shares, 42 rose, 51 fell and 9 were unchanged.
Meanwhile, Argentine sovereign debt rose by 2 percent on average in over-the-counter trade, with the dollar-denominated Boden bond maturing in 2014 gaining 4.3 percent.
The government has been buying back bonds since the start of the week in a bid to stabilize prices that plunged last week due to concern over the country’s financing outlook and economic management.
On the foreign exchange market, the peso strengthened slightly in interbank trade due to a stronger flow of dollars being sold by grains exporters, traders said.
In formal interbank trade, where the central bank regularly intervenes to stabilize the local currency, the peso firmed by 0.25 percent to end at 3.0275/3.03 per dollar ARS=RASL.
In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso shed just 0.08 percent to end at 3.0775/3.08 per dollar ARSB=. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Diane Craft)