June 27, 2008 / 9:27 PM / 12 years ago

Argentine stocks get boost from Tenaris rally

BUENOS AIRES, June 27 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks rose on Friday, driven by energy-related stocks lifted by record oil prices, while bonds and the peso clocked more modest gains.

The benchmark MerVal stock index .MERV gained 0.99 percent to end at 2,093.01 points, thanks mainly to index heavyweight Tenaris TENA.BA(TS.N), the world’s largest producer of seamless steel tubes for the energy industry.

Tenaris finished up 4.47 percent to 116.8 pesos per share, after earlier hitting a record 118 pesos.

“The MerVal continues to feel the benefit of Tenaris’ influence, with investors not buying it for value but because it’s a safe bet while oil prices keep rising,” said Christian Reos, an analyst at the Allaria Ledesma brokerage.

Trade volume shrank to a weak $24 million. Of active issues 71 fell, 29 rose and 18 were unchanged.

Friday’s gains helped cut the MerVal’s losses since the start of June to 5.11 percent.

On the local debt market, Argentine bonds <AR/BONOS> eked out a 0.2 percent gain on average in over-the-counter trade, with peso-denominated issues clocking up the biggest gains.

However, debt traders said persistent political uncertainty related to an ongoing conflict between farmers and the government continued to weigh on the market.

On the foreign exchange market, the peso ARS=RASL firmed by 0.08 percent to 3.025/3.0275 per dollar in formal interbank as the central bank kept on selling dollars despite larger sales of the U.S. currency by exporters, traders said.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso strengthened by the same margin to close at 3.0825/3.085 per dollar ARSB=.

The central bank has been selling dollars on the market to bolster the peso amid uncertainty surrounding the farm dispute that began in mid-March. One trader said savers and investors were still opting for dollars, putting pressure on the peso. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi; Writing by Helen Popper; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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