BUENOS AIRES, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks slipped slightly on Friday after a session of zigs and zags, but bonds got a lift from renewed appetite for risk after banks were promised aid in the United States.
The benchmark MerVal index .MERV gave up 0.2 percent to 1,097.96 points. On the broad market, volume was meager at $7 million. Of active issues 33 declined, 13 advanced and 17 were unchanged.
Argentina’s biggest financial group Grupo Financiero Galicia (GFG.BA) fell 3.1 percent to 0.741 pesos per share.
“The market showed very scarce transactions ahead of Monday’s holiday (in the United States), which meant institutional investors stayed away, waiting for the inauguration of the new president on Tuesday,” said Ruben Pascuali, a trader with Mayoral brokerage.
U.S. markets are closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King holiday, which is followed on Tuesday by the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.
Argentine government bonds traded over-the-counter in Buenos Aires rose on average, led by a 4.3 percent gain in the 2033 dollar-denominated Discount bond ARDISCD=RASL to 35.6 ask price.
Traders said the U.S. rescue of Bank of America helped. “Anything that generates confidence is welcome and gets transferred to risk assets,” one trader said.
The peso currency, which is subject to regular interventions by the Central Bank, closed almost flat.
In formal exchange between banks the peso weakened 0.07 percent to 3.4550/3.4575 per dollar ARS=RASL. In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso strengthened 0.28 percent 3.5225/3.5250 ARSB=. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi, writing by Fiona Ortiz)