August 20, 2008 / 9:34 PM / 12 years ago

Argentine stocks gain on rise in commodity prices

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks ended three straight sessions of losses on Wednesday, rising on gains by companies linked to commodities after global prices rose.

The benchmark MerVal stocks index .MERV rose 0.72 percent to close at 1,740.26 points after registering a 0.87 percent loss in trading since Thursday.

“A rise in grains and oil prices helped lift the MerVal,” said Dionisio Corneille, director of the Corneille brokerage.

Index heavyweight Tenaris TENA.BA, the world’s leading producer of seamless steel tubes for the energy industry, saw its shares rise 3.36 percent to 83.1 pesos.

Brazil’s state-run energy firm Petrobas APBR.BA(PETR4.SA) rose 3.9 percent to 80 pesos, while food maker and grains exporter Molinos Rio de la Plata MOL.BA jumped 6.21 percent to 7.7 pesos.

Trade volume on the overall market was $33 million. Of active shares, 43 fell, 23 rose and 16 were unchanged.

Argentine bonds traded on the domestic market fell on average 0.5 percent in over-the-counter trade as investors pocketed profits for a second day on recent gains amid a government debt buyback.

Peso-denomimated Par paper ARPARD=RASL led losers falling 2.4 percent, while the Disc paper, also in pesos, fell 0.9 percent <AR/BONOS>.

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

High inflation and falling prices for soy, which is Argentina’s top foreign income earner, have raised concerns the government could face financing shortfalls next year.

The country’s bond prices slumped after the government sold debt to ally Venezuela at a high yield of 14.8 percent.

On the foreign exchange market, the peso closed flat steadied by central bank intervention, traders said.

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

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

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