November 30, 2007 / 10:08 PM / 13 years ago

Argentina stocks fall on profit-taking; peso gains

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks closed lower on Friday as investors pocketed profits from recent gains, while bonds rose as traders bet the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates in the United States.

The MerVal index .MERV of 25 leading stocks retreated 1.35 percent to 2,206.01 points, accumulating a 6.18 percent loss for the month.

Volume on the broad market was a moderate $38.2 million. Among active issues, 32 rose, 40 fell and 17 ended unchanged.

“The market started high, pushed up by external markets, but never consolidated,” said Ricardo Maied, a trader at Federal Bursatil brokerage.

Energy group Transportadora de Gas del Sur TGS2.BA led losers, falling 6.94 percent to 3.62 pesos.

Bond prices in Argentina <AR/BONOS> rose by 1.5 percent on average as investors continued to hope the U.S. Federal Reserve will trim interest rates.

Leading the gainers was the Disc bond denominated in pesos, which jumped 2.1 percent in over-the-counter trade.

Expectations for a cut in U.S. interest rates lift assets in riskier emerging markets, drawing capital in search of higher returns.

In the foreign exchange market, the peso strengthened slightly against the U.S. dollar as private investors sought out the currency to buy peso-denominated bonds, traders said.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso strengthened 0.16 percent to 3.155/3.1575 per U.S. dollar ARSB=. In formal interbank trade, where the central bank intervenes, the peso gained by the same percentage to 3.1425/3.145 per dollar ARS=RASL. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi; Writing by Kevin Gray)

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