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YPF Tanks, Leading Argentine Stocks Lower

02/28/2012 | 05:15pm US/Eastern

--YPF tanks ahead of President Kirchner's address to Congress on Thursday

--GDP warrants slide on concern about economic growth

--Peso barely moves versus the U.S. dollar

   By Taos Turner 
   Of  

Argentine stocks played catchup on Tuesday, making up for the poor performance of local shares traded in New York on Monday, when Argentina's market was closed because of its Flag Day holiday.

The Merval index fell 2.9% to 2682.09 in volume totaling ARS68 million ($15.6 million).

Shares of the oil and gas company YPF SA (YPFD.BA, YPF) tanked 7.5% to ARS147 on continued speculation that the government will nationalize the company or that some provinces might revoke some of its concessions.

"Yesterday was a bad day for local stocks in the U.S. and we're seeing a reflection of that today," said Adrian Mayoral, a trader at his family's brokerage.

Mayoral said investors are concerned about Argentine President Cristina Kirchner's administration and its unpredictable approach to economic policy.

"The government is dangerous because it's populist and doesn't think long-term. People are afraid that they'll be surprised by some kind of unexpected announcement. So there's some fear out there."

Kirchner is expected to address Congress on Thursday and speculation is rampant that she will announce some new policy measures, perhaps even something related to YPF.

Shares of financial group Grupo Financiero Galicia SA (GGAL.BA, GGAL) fell 3.7% in heavy trading to ARS3.37.

Telecom Argentina SA (TECO2.BA, TEO) fell 4.3% to ARS17.60; Tenaris SA (>> Tenaris S.A.) fell 3.55% to ARS93.70.

Sociedad Comercial del Plata (COME.BA) rose almost 4.4% to ARS0.715 to lead the gains.

The Global X FTSE Argentina 20 ETF rose 0.78% to $11.60.

Argentina's so-called GDP warrants slid sharply on concern that the economy will not perform strongly this year.

The TVPP 2025 warrant fell 4.9% to ARS13.15.

The peso was little changed against the U.S. dollar at ARS4.3555 on the MAE local foreign-exchange wholesale market compared with ARS4.3533 in the previous session.

Last year the peso weakened 7.6% against the dollar.

-By Taos Turner, Dow Jones Newswires; 5411-4103-6728; taos.turner@dowjones.com

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