August 21, 2008 / 9:36 PM / 12 years ago

Argentine stocks gain on oil prices, bonds fall

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks rose on Thursday, lifted by gains in energy-related shares on a jump in global oil prices.

The benchmark MerVal stocks index .MERV gained 0.33 percent to close at 1,746.12 points, cutting its losses for the month to 9.05 percent.

“The market moved between the gains in Petrobras and Tenaris and losses in banking shares affected by a fall in (Argentine) bond prices,” said Claudio Szlaien, an analyst at Marlon Recursos Financieros brokerage.

Oil prices climbed almost 5 percent on Thursday amid a big bounce in commodities, helping to send U.S. stocks higher as energy shares gained.

On the MerVal, Brazil’s state-run energy firm Petrobas APBR.BA(PETR4.SA) led gainers rising 3.45 percent to 83.45 pesos.

Index heavyweight Tenaris TENA.BA, the world’s leading producer of seamless steel tubes for the energy industry, climbed 1.44 percent to 84.3 pesos.

Trade volume on the overall market was a moderate $24.5 million. Of active shares, 24 gained, 44 fell and 20 were unchanged.

Argentine bonds traded on the domestic market fell 0.5 percent on average for a third straight day on profit-taking as the government continued to repurchase debt.

The government began buying back bonds since last week in a bid to stabilize prices that recently plunged on investor concern over the country’s financing outlook.

Banking shares on the MerVal fell because Argentine banks are some of the biggest holders of Argentine debt.

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.

On the foreign exchange market, the peso closed mixed as the central bank bought dollars, 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. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Kevin Gray; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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