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Argentina Stocks, Bonds Down On Global Jitters

Monday, January 21, 2008

UPDATE: Argentina Stocks, Bonds Down On Global Jitters

BUENOS AIRES (Dow Jones)--Argentine stocks dropped sharply in early trading Monday, with longer term debt also taking a hit, amid global jitters about the U.S. economy, and as local investors took their lead from sliding markets in Asia, Europe and neighboring Brazil.

Volumes were mild, however, as many investors remained on the sidelines due to a U.S. market holiday, traders said.

The peso weakened slightly in early trading but soon leveled out at ARS3.1575 per dollar, from Friday's close at ARS3.1325, as some exporters jumped to exchange overseas dollar earnings for pesos, one currency trader said.

Just over an hour into trading, the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange's benchmark Merval Index was down 4.11% to 1,908.32 points, with the broader General Index down 4.11% to 108,872.82 points. The Merval had been down more than 5% at one point during the first hour of trading.

"There was some panic selling, with some seeking to get out at whatever cost," said Juan Jose Vazquez, an analyst with local Bull Market Brokers. But volumes were mild, he said, as is normally the case during U.S. market holidays. Most of the Merval's losses occurred within the first 10 minutes of trading.

Stocks took a hit across the board, with local energy fund Pampa Holding (PAMP.BA) recently down 5.98% to ARS2.34, and steel tube maker Tenaris (TS) down 4.21% to ARS58.15.

In the local debt market, longer-term notes were hardest hit, with the price of the Discount bond in pesos recently down to ARS114.80, from Friday's close at ARS118.50.

Posted by MOHAMED SAID at 7:52 AM  


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