December 15, 2008 / 9:12 PM / 12 years ago

Argentina stocks rise for ninth straight session

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks closed higher for a ninth consecutive session on Monday, boosted by selective buying from investors in shares tied to global commodity prices, while bonds fell.

The benchmark MerVal index .MERV rose 1.53 percent to close at 1,115.04 points, accumulating a 20.5 percent gain since it began its run in positive territory and reducing its losses this year to 48.2 percent.

“Selective buying from investment funds helped the MerVal extend its gains,” said Augusto Fariea, a trader at Amirante Galitis brokerage.

Buenos Aires-listed shares of Brazilian oil company Petrobras APBR.BA rose 2.72 percent to 41.6 pesos per share, pushed higher by a brief rise in oil prices on expectations that OPEC would agree to cuts this week when the group meets in Algeria.

Oil prices closed nearly 4 percent lower as deepening economic worries countered those expectations.

Food manufacturer and grains exporter Molinos Rio de la Plata MOL.BA rose 1.1 percent to 12.1 pesos.

On the broad market volume was light at $13.5 million. Of active issues, 39 advanced, 14 declined and 14 were unchanged.

Government bonds traded locally fell 2.1 percent on average in light trade, led by a 6.9 percent fall in the dollar-denominated Boden 2014 bond ARBODEN14=RASL.

Bond prices have fallen 3 percent over the last three sessions as investors concerned about the global economic downturn stayed on the sidelines, traders said.

On the foreign exchange market, the peso closed virtually unchanged in moderate trade heavily regulated by the central bank.

In formal trade between banks the peso was flat at 3.42/3.425 per dollar ARS=RASL. In trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso was also unchanged at 3.4675/3.4725 per dollar ARSB=.

“The central bank was active in the market at the beginning, selling (dollars) to prevent the peso from strengthening, and the end, buying to keep the peso at 3.42 pesos,” said Fernando Izzo, an analyst at ABC Mercado de Cambios. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi, Writing by Kevin Gray; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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