January 31, 2008 / 9:28 PM / 13 years ago

Argentine stocks follow Brazil lower, bonds weaker

(Updates with close)

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Argentine stocks fell on Thursday, mirroring losses in the influential Brazilian stock market due to persistent investor fears of a U.S. recession despite interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

The MerVal index .MERV of 42 leading stocks ended down 1.41 percent at 2,007.27 points, accumulating a loss of 6.71 percent since the start of the year.

“The riskiness of putting money into stocks is well know, and again the individual investors tolerance of that risk is coming into play,” the Portfolio Personal consultancy said in a report.

Many foreign markets were affected by increasing reports of a possible recession in the United States, with Brazil’s Bovespa .BVSP falling 1.33 percent.

New U.S. data showed unemployment security requests rose strongly last week to their highest level since October 2005, while consumer spending slowed late last year.

Energy-related shares pressured the Argentine market on Thursday as oil prices fell.

Among the MerVal’s losers were the Buenos Aires-listed shares of Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobas <APBR.BA, which fell 3.34 percent to 173.5 pesos and steelmaker Tenaris, TENA.BA TS.N, which shed 2.98 percent to 63.5 pesos per share. Tenaris is the world’s top producer of seamless steel tubes for the energy industry.

Volume on the broad market was a light-to-moderate $32.1 million with 54 issues retreating, 25 advancing and 11 unchanged.

On the debt market, Argentine bonds <AR/BONOS> fell by 0.9 percent on average due to the global jitters, while the peso held steady.

In formal interbank trade, where the central bank intervenes, the Argentine peso ARS=RASL closed just 0.08 percent lower at 3.1575/3.1600 per dollar.

In informal trade between foreign exchange houses, as measured by Reuters, the peso ARSB= ended flat at 3.1700/3.1725 per dollar. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Writing by Gaspard Sebag)

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