August 19, 2008 / 9:34 PM / 12 years ago

RPT-Argentine stocks dip, oil shares help brake slide

(Repeats to fix typo in headline)

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks slumped on Tuesday despite a rebound in energy-related shares stoked by a rise in global oil prices, while bond prices slipped on profit-taking.

The benchmark MerVal stocks index .MERV shed 0.34 percent to close at 1,727.78 points, accumulating a 0.87 percent loss over the last three sessions.

Trade volume on the overall market was a thin $16.9 million.

“The rebound in oil helped the MerVal from falling farther along with other external markets,” said Marcelo Paccione, an analyst at ConsultCapital.

He said investor optimism the government may make changes in its widely discredited national statistics agency also helped to limit the market’s losses.

President Cristina Fernandez is facing increasing criticism the government is under-reporting consumer price rises to slash payments on inflation-linked debt.

Brazil’s state-run energy firm Petrobras APBR.BA rose 2.66 percent to 77 pesos. Index heavyweight Tenaris TENA.BA, the world’s leading producer of seamless steel tubes for the energy industry rose 2.42 percent to 80.40 pesos.

Argentine bonds traded on the domestic market fell on average 0.4 percent in over-the-counter trade as investors cashed in on recent gains amid a government debt buyback.

Dollar-denomimated Par paper ARPARD=RASL led losers falling 1.2 percent.

The government began buying back short-term bonds last week after prices recently slumped on market concerns over the country’s financing outlook.

On the foreign exchange market, the peso strengthened slightly, helped by steady intervention from the central bank, traders said.

In formal interbank trade, where the central bank regularly intervenes to stabilize the local currency, the peso ARS=RASL gained 0.17 percent to 3.025/3.0275 per dollar.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso firmed 0.24 percent to end at 3.0625/3.065 per dollar. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Kevin Gray; Editing by Diane Craft)

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