CORRECTED-Investors want in on Argentina's market, but can't find stocks

viernes 1 de julio de 2016 13:19 GYT

(Corrects title of FCStone analyst to Vice President of Equity Trading, Latin America)

By Dion Rabouin

NEW YORK, July 1 (Reuters) - After long considering Argentina's equities, Manning & Napier Inc portfolio manager Ben Rozin was finally motivated to buy late last year, taking a stake in agriculture company Adecoagro SA.

Rozin is one of several fund managers encouraged by last year's election of market-friendly President Mauricio Macri. But as Manning & Napier has sought to broaden its exposure to Argentina, a one-time market pariah, it has been hindered by a lack of publicly-traded Argentine companies.

Argentina's recent deal with "hold-out" hedge funds - who for years battled former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - has thrown the doors open to buyers of the South American country's debt. Investors scooped up $16.5 billion of its multi-tranche sovereign bonds, and another $4 billion from its provinces and assorted corporations.

Another U.S. dollar bond sale was announced on Thursday.

But equities remain problematic.

"The biggest issue is that there aren't a lot of companies listed," said Rozin, one of several investors who had interest in buying stocks after Macri's election, but have struggled to do so.

Argentina's benchmark Merval index, which has rallied 29 percent this year after a 36-percent rise last year, comprises only 15 stocks. The overwhelming majority are regulated utilities like Pampa Energia or commodity-dependent, like oil company YPF.   Continuación...