July 28, 2008 / 8:52 PM / 12 years ago

Argentina stocks dodge global slump, oil boosts

BUENOS AIRES, July 28 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks shrugged off a global stocks slump to close higher on Monday, but volume was very thin and the rise came from heavyweight oil industry stocks.

The MerVal index .MERV of leading stocks gained 0.65 percent to close at 1,922.73 points in light trade worth $15 million. Of active issues 29 advanced, 27 declined and 18 were unchanged.

Heavily weighted Tenaris TENA.BA, which makes steel pipes for the global oil industry, rose 1.4 percent to 93 pesos, reacting to a rise of more than $1 per barrel in oil prices after militant attacks slashed Nigerian oil output.

Locally listed shares in Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras APBR.BA rose 0.9 percent to 83.5 pesos.

“The lift in oil helped the Merval to rise on Tenaris and Petrobras, even though there was not really a defined trend since volume was so low,” said Hernan Labrone, analyst with Fenix Financial Company in Buenos Aires.

Argentine government debt slipped an average 0.2 percent in local trade, led by peso-denominated Par bonds, which stepped back 2.1 percent.

The peso currency closed flat in low volume, as an avalanche of dollars from agricultural exports has failed to materialize. Farm exports were expected to surge after the end of a prolonged conflict between the government and farmers.

But the flow of greenbacks has been held up as exporters argue with the government over back taxes officials are trying to charge.

In official trade between banks ARS=RASL, the peso ended at 3.0175/3.0200 per U.S. dollar, the same as Friday’s close. In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso ended at 3.0675/3.0700 ARSB=, also unchanged from Friday’s close. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola, writing by Fiona Ortiz)

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