Bloomberg News

Colombia Stocks: Helm Bank, Argos, Ecopetrol Were Active

July 18, 2012

The following companies had unusual price changes in Bogota trading. Stock symbols are in parentheses, and prices are as of the close of trading.

The IGBC Index (IGBC) rose 0.1 percent to 13,671.90. The Colcap Index rose 0.3 percent to 1,665.54.

Helm Bank SA (PFBHELMB) , whose stock is the best performer on the IGBC this year, rallied 5.8 percent to 510 pesos, a four-week high, after Diario Financiero newspaper reported that Chile’s Corpbanca is in talks to buy the Colombian lender. Corpbanca declined to answer e-mailed questions on the report. Helm Bank didn’t respond to a phone message requesting comment.

Cementos Argos SA (CEMARGOS) , Colombia’s biggest cement maker, rose 1 percent to 7,160 pesos after falling as much as 0.7 percent earlier in the day. The total number of building permits in Colombia shrank 38 percent from a year earlier in May, according to a report published by Colombia’s national statistics agency.

Oil advanced, exceeding $90 a barrel for the first time since May, as U.S. housing starts rose more than forecast and gasoline inventories fell.

Ecopetrol SA (ECOPETL) , Colombia’s state-controlled oil company, rose 0.4 percent to 5,010 pesos. The company signed a deal with PanAtlantic Energy Group that will give Ecopetrol a 30 percent stake in three exploration blocks in Brazil’s Santos Basin, according to an e-mailed statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Laya in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at

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