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Colombia Stocks Rise, Shrugs Off Declines In US; Peso Weakens

04/04/2012 | 05:14pm US/Eastern

--Colombian share prices see modest gains despite drop in U.S. stock markets

--State-controlled oil firm Ecopetrol rises 0.2%

--Colombia peso rangebound as four-day weekend begins in Colombia

By Dan Molinski

Of

Colombian stocks rose marginally Wednesday, shrugging off market declines in the U.S., while the peso ended weaker but stayed in tight ranges as investors held their positions ahead of a four-day weekend.

The Colcap index, the benchmark for the Colombian Stock Exchange, rose 0.06% to end at 1,742.90 points. Markets, businesses and government offices are closed Thursday and Friday in Colombia to celebrate Holy Week.

Shares of national oil company Ecopetrol (ECOPETROL.BO, EC) rose 0.2% to COP5,610 despite a 2.4% drop in global prices for a barrel of crude oil amid rising stockpiles in the U.S.

Canada-based but Colombia-focused Canacol Energy Ltd. (CAAEF, CNE.T, CNEC.BO) slid 4.6% to COP1,335. The stock has fallen some 18% over the past week following an announcement by the company that one of its explorations only found small traces of oil. Several local analysts said earlier this week investors are over-punishing the stock for what is simply one dry well. But the share price continues to decline.

Meanwhile, the Colombian peso weakened slightly to end at COP1,772.52 for a dollar, from COP1,770.00 a day earlier, according to Set-FX, the foreign-exchange transaction system used by the Bogota bourse.

The yield on Colombia's peso-denominated bond due July 2024 closed at 7.233% after beginning the session at 7.230%.

-By Dan Molinski, Dow Jones Newswires; 57-310-867-6542; dan.molinski@dowjones.com

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(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

04-04-12 1713ET

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