January 14, 2008 / 9:14 PM / 12 years ago

Argentine stocks follow Wall Street higher

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks closed up sharply on Monday, tracking gains on Wall Street and led by energy shares, traders said.

The MerVal index .MERV of 42 leading companies jumped 2.37 percent to 2,132.38 points.

“Wall Street’s gains brought greater calm to local investors, who followed the upward trend in energy and service company shares,” said Hernan Labrone, an analyst at Fenix Compania Financiera.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed up 1.36 percent at 12,778,.15 points.

Gains were led by energy group Pampa Holding PAM.BA, which surged 6 percent to 2.48 pesos a share, and Tenaris TENA.BA, which makes steel tubes for the energy industry and whose shares jumped 4.7 percent to 65.10 pesos.

On Argentina’s broad market, volume was modest at $26.3 million, while 43 issues advanced, 13 declined and 18 were unchanged.

“Volume was cautious on the Argentine market because important U.S. inflation data to be released this week is seen leading to volatility,” said Diego Zabaleta, a trader at Besfamiglie brokerage.

Sovereign bonds traded locally rose an average 0.3 percent as investors anticipate a fresh interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve, traders said.

The session’s biggest gainer was the Discount bond denominated in pesos, which rose 1.1 percent.

The peso currency ended weaker after the central bank mopped up dollars being sold by exporters. In formal interbank trade, the peso slipped 0.32 percent to end at 3.1375/3.1400 per U.S. dollar ARS=RASL.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso weakened 0.16 percent to 3.1725/3.1750 per dollar ARSB=. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Translated by Hilary Burke; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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