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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Market ContinuesTo Surge

Positive investor sentiment spilled over from Friday to lift the Russian equity market to yet another new high, although traders described volumes as relatively light.

The Moscow Times Index of 50 leading stocks raced up 6.36 percent in dollar terms Monday to a record 132.34, while the ruble-adjusted index rose 18.27 or 6.4 percent, to 304.00.

Blue chip issues attracted much of Monday's interest, with Mosenergo up enough to close above $1.00 a share for the first time. Oil industry giant LUKoil rose to $11.20 and Surgutneftegaz advanced 17 percent to $0.51 after confirming its 1995 net profit forecast of 1.7 trillion rubles at a shareholders' meeting over the weekend. That compares with 350 billion rubles in 1994.

The markets continued to ride higher on President Boris Yeltsin's firing last week of three top conservative Kremlin official. Among the largest percentage gainers, Lenergo jumped up 24 percent to $0.305, Tomskneft added 14 percent to $6.50 and Trade House GUM rose 9.5 percent to $19.50.

Equity prices rose 4 percent to 5 percent early in the session, slipped somewhat and then firmed at the close to bring the market up 6.36 percent.

"There was more Western institutional money coming in, and demand continued going into the second round [of presidential elections on July 3]," said a trader at ING Bank Eurasia.

Added another trader: "Local brokers see there's a lot of demand. In the morning they started bidding and buying everything for themselves, then their clients came in and picked up the slack."

Political news "always affects foreign buying, but today more of the effect was that [Communist runoff challenger Gennady] Zyuganov said again that he's seeking a pre-election pact. That shows he's not sure he will win," said Bobby Meshoyrer, head of sales and trading at Aton brokerage.