August 15, 2008 / 9:11 PM / in 12 years

Argentine stocks slip on oil losses, bonds firm

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks fell for a second consecutive session on Friday, dragged down by energy-related shares on lower oil prices, while bonds rose slightly on government buying.

The benchmark MerVal stocks index .MERV closed down 0.23 percent at 1,733.79 points, after dropping by as much as 1.11 percent earlier in the session.

“The losses of Tenaris TENA.BA and Petrobras APBR.BA(PETR4.SA) hit the MerVal hard at a time when commodities prices don’t stop falling,” said Dionisio Corneille, director of the Corneille brokerage.

Index heavyweight Tenaris, the world’s leading producer of seamless steel tubes for the energy industry, saw its stock fall 2.97 percent to 78.5 peso per share.

Brazil’s state-run energy firm Petrobras fell 4.22 percent to 75 pesos.

Trade volume on the overall market was a thin $16 million. Of active shares, 26 fell, 56 rose and 21 were unchanged.

Argentine bonds traded on the domestic market eked out an average gain of 0.2 percent in over-the-counter trade due to government buying, dragged down by the dollar-denominated Boden, maturing in 2014, which fell 3.4 percent ARBODEN14D=RASL.

Gainers were led by dollar-denominated Bonar paper, due in 2017 and 2013, which rose 3.1 percent and 2.0 percent respectively.

The government has been repurchasing bonds since the start of the week in a bid to stabilize prices that plunged last week due to market jitters over the country’s financing outlook.

On the foreign exchange market, the peso was mixed in a session marked by greater dollar liquidity and the firm intervention of the central bank, traders said.

In formal interbank trade, where the central bank regularly intervenes to stabilize the local currency, the peso closed down just 0.08 percent at 3.03/3.0325 per dollar.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso firmed 0.33 percent to end at 3.07/3.0725 per dollar. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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