BUENOS AIRES, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks closed higher on Friday as energy issues rose with higher oil prices, but the rebound from steep losses a day earlier was weak as doubts over the U.S. economy eroded morning gains.
The MerVal index .MERV of 25 leading stocks gained 0.57 percent to 2,281 points. Volume was high at close to $80 million. Of active issues, 43 advanced, 40 declined and 15 were unchanged.
Argentine traded shares of Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras APBR.BA led gains, up 5.8 percent to 165 pesos per share in heavy volume. Petrobras is weighted as 3.97 percent of the MerVal.
Petrobras sank 7.14 percent on Thursday, dragging the MerVal down 1.79 percent, after the government raised fuel export taxes. But it came back somewhat on Friday as oil CLc1 rose more than $1 to above $95 a barrel on Friday due to weakness of the dollar.
“The MerVal’s rebound was pretty poor because it depended on shares such as Brazil’s Petrobras and (steel pipe maker) Tenaris,” said Horacio Corneille, director of his own brokerage.
Corneille said buying in bank stocks is weak because of doubts on whether there will be interest-rate movements in the United States.
Government bonds on the local market fell an average of 0.7 percent, as emerging sovereign debt spreads around the world hit their widest levels in two months as investors worried again about global liquidity.
The downtrend in Argentina was led by the peso-denominated Boden 14, which was off 3.5 percent in over-the-counter trade.
The peso currency closed mixed. It strengthened 0.08 percent to 3.1525/3.1550 per dollar ARSB= in informal trade between foreign exchange houses as measured by Reuters.
But the peso weakened 0.24 percent to 3.1300/3.1325 ARS=RASL in formal interbank trade where the central bank intervenes to keep the peso weak and benefit the country’s grain export economy. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by James Dalgleish)