15 Russian Stocks Now Quoted by FT

The Financial Times set a milestone for the Russian stock market by permanently adding top Russian companies to its stock index this week.

Fifteen of the largest Russian companies in terms of market capitalization debuted in the financial daily, along with Indian and Chinese companies.

"This is symbolic. This is an admission of the growing importance of Russia on international financial markets," said Martin Vishnevsky, vice president and head analyst of Morgan Stanley in Russia. "And its not bad PR."

Quoted by FT

Norilsk Nickel
*Ranked in the FT 500
The Wall Street Journal already publishes Russian stock quotes, but their appearance in the Financial Times could have a bigger impact on the Russian market. "European clients are more active than Americans. They have a larger turnover, although their volumes are lower," said head trader of Troika Dialog, Timur Nasardinov.

According to Simon Brisco, director of the Financial Times department of statistics, the decision to include the stocks of a number of developing markets including Russia's had been pending for the past two years. Until now, the newspaper had a priority to cover the situation on the world market. Now Russia's turn has come. "We're glad to fill in a blank space," he said.

The capitalization figures for a number of Russian companies have reached levels that are impressive even by global standards. The FT 500 list of the world's largest companies, published in May, listed for the first time Yukos (227th place), Surgutneftegaz (348th place) and LUKoil (336th place), while Gazprom made its first appearance (254th place) since its 1997 debut, when it was 421st. In addition, there were more Russian firms than any other nation's firms listed in the 100 largest East European companies list, with Russia holding 36 places.

The presence of Russian companies in the Financial Times, although positive, will not on its own attract financing to the Russian stock market.

"It will be convenient for investors interested in Russian stock quotes, but it won't lead to immediate growth," said Deutsche Bank analyst Krisztina Kovacs. A market's image is formed by other factors, such as companies releasing information about themselves, trade volume and accounting standards, she said. Simply printing stock quotes won't make for a better image.

Nevertheless, to some, simply seeing the word "Russia" printed in boldface and the stock quotes of 15 Russian companies will be what informs them that Russia has a stock market at all. Others will glance at the quotes from time to time, some will carefully follow their fluctuations.