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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MT Index Ends Week At New High of 66.22

Russian shares ended with modest gains Friday to wrap up a turbulent week of trade at a fresh 1999 high.

The dollar-denominated Moscow Times Index of 50 leading shares added 1.75 percent to end at 66.22, just above Wednesday's previous high of 65.64. The RTS index was up 1.27 percent at 85.60, off of its Wednesday's record of 90.02.

MT Index turnover totaled $10.26 million, down from a whopping $17 million on Wednesday.

But traders remained optimistic, saying Friday's weaker volumes was not unusual ahead of the weekend.

They said that the market continued to be supported by investor optimism fueled by rising world oil prices and hopes for new aid from the International Monetary Fund.

A final round of talks with the fund wrapped up Friday and Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov is due next week to meet fund head Michel Camdessus in Washington. Traders are predicting a deal will be reached within weeks.

"After a week of heavy activity, investors need a day or two to catch their breath. There's nothing wrong with this. The market is doing more now than anyone would have thought a month ago," said one Russian trader.

Fleming UCB senior trader Samit Yakovlev agreed.

"On the whole, investors are looking at Russia with more optimism than they have for a while. ... It's fair to say that the situation [on the market] has changed significantly over last year," he said.

Continued demand for oil company shares on the back of improved world crude prices remained one of the key influences in the market.

The Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries, or OPEC, boosted prices this week when its announced plans to cut output by 2 million barrels a day. International benchmark Brent crude shot up to five-month highs Thursday of $13.87 per barrel after struggling below the $10 market just weeks earlier. A final agreement on exports is expected to be decided at an OPEC meeting next week.

Russia's oil producer LUKoil finished at the top of MT Index turnover, adding 1.36 percent to end at $7.45. Surgutneftegaz gained 1.51 percent to $0.141.

Oil company Chernogorneft made the biggest gains, firming 25 percent to $1.250, while Khanty-Mansiisk Telecom slipped 4.17 percent to $1.150.