UPDATE 6-Ruling party candidate Scioli leads Argentine presidential primary
(Adds market analysts' comments, updates vote results, paragraphs 3-4, 10-11, 13-18)
By Hugh Bronstein
BUENOS AIRES Aug 9 (Reuters) - Ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli was ahead in Argentina's presidential primary on Sunday with 36.8 percent, early results showed, with voters favoring the Buenos Aires governor's policy of gradual change after eight years of leftist government.
Scioli is in outgoing President Cristina Fernandez's Front for Victory party and has promised to slowly modify her policies, which include heavy state control of the economy.
The presidential election, in which Fernandez is banned from running for a third consecutive term, is on Oct. 25.
The No. 2 vote-getter on Sunday was Mauricio Macri, the business-friendly mayor of the capital city whose goal is to do well enough in October to force a November run-off. He had 24.7 percent of the primary vote with 24.5 percent of ballots counted. The early results were seen as neutral for the markets.
Macri competed with two less popular members of his Cambiemos, or "Let's Change," coalition. Let's Change as a whole captured 31.2 percent. Scioli ran unopposed in the Front for Victory primary.
Ignacio Labaqui, who analyses Argentina for Medley Global Advisors, said Macri's coalition needed at least 30 percent on Sunday for him to stay in serious contention.
Each party chose its presidential candidate in the primary but, with voters free to cross party lines, Sunday's vote served as a dry run ahead of the October election. To win outright in October, a candidate needs 45 percent of the vote or 40 percent with a 10-point margin over whoever places second. Continuación...