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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stocks Stable After Taking a Hit




Equities took a hit following Nasdaq's huge losses at the start of the week, but climbed slowly upward closer to the Easter holidays - though trading remainedthin.


Traders were carefully watching the Dow Jones and high-tech stocks in the United States, fearing that sell-orders from abroad could tilt the fragile balance that had settled upon the market, which stabled out at around 200 on the RTS index.


"The good news is that Nasdaq's volatility had a limited impact on the local market," said Alexander Fonarkov, a trader with Fleming UCB. "The fact that the Nasdaq corrected downward could spell good things for emerging markets, which compete with the high-tech sector for risky funds."


The RTS index ended the week with a 4.34 percent loss at 213.29, with most of the trading centered on the blue chips, which, barring a few exceptions, edged down in a tight pack.


The Moscow Times Index of 50 leading shares fell 5.04 percent to 158.94 because of the heavy losses sustained by Gazprom's domestic stock, which shed 13.8 percent to end at 25.7 cents a share, down from a recent high of 36.8 cents.


The major exceptions among the first-tier stocks were Surgutneftegaz, Rostelecom and Aeroflot, with all three remaining in demand last week.


Surgutneftegaz was up 4.1 percent at 28.9 cents a share after the company unveiled the terms of a planned share swap, which will allow Surgut to consolidate into a single company-wide stock.


Rostelecom edged up 6.6 percent to $3.09 on the tail of the Nasdaq recovery.


As usual in times of meltdown, liquidity dried up in the second-tier stocks as soon as the prices edged down.


"Bids in the second-tier fell immediately after the market dropped," said Kirill Maltsev, head of sales with Rye, Man and Gor.


Traders expect the market to stay calm until the end of the Easter holidays, but a rally remains in the cards, even though no fresh money is looming on the horizon.


"The local market sparks no interest at all," said Fonarkov.


Though when asked whether the year high could already be in the past, he firmly said "No."