26 de diciembre de 2008 / 20:47 / en 9 años

Argentine stocks, bonds rise in thin trade

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks rose on Friday in thin volume, fueled by purchases of energy-related shares as U.S. crude oil futures surged, traders said.

The benchmark MerVal index .MERV rose 1.95 percent to end at 1,058.57, after shedding 9.55 percent in the previous four sessions.

The stock market was closed on Wednesday and Thursday for the Christmas holiday.

"The rebound in oil prices helped energy-related companies and firm bond prices benefited (financial conglomerate) Grupo Galicia," said Jorge Alberti, an analyst at online brokerage Elaccionista.com.

The MerVal's gains were led by Brazil's state energy company Petrobras (APBR.BA) (PETR4.SA), which jumped 6.9 percent to 40.20 pesos a share in Buenos Aires.

Trade volume was meager at $5.2 million. Of active issues, 17 advanced, 18 declined and 15 were unchanged.

On the local market, sovereign bond prices gained 1.0 percent on average in over-the-counter trade, with the dollar-denominated Boden 2014 ARBODEN14D=RASL rising 2.8 percent to an ask price of 10.90.

Friday was a holiday for civil servants, contributing to sluggish trade in financial markets.

"There's very little volume because there aren't many traders around. The market is up, thanks to a few specific purchases," a debt trader said.

On the foreign-exchange market, the peso ended weaker in thin trade, slipping 0.15 percent to 3.4375/3.4425 per U.S. dollar in formal interbank trade ARS=RASL.

In informal trade between foreign-exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso slumped 1.14 percent to close at 3.490/3.495 per dollar ARSB=.

The central bank, which normally intervenes on a daily basis to avert abrupt changes in the peso's value, did not participate in Friday's session, traders said. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Hilary Burke; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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