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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Trade Thin Despite Inauguration

Shares ended mixed Wednesday after a day of lethargic trade troubled by the likelihood of a U.S. interest rate hike next week, traders said.

The Moscow Times Index of 50 leading shares ended at 172.11 on volume of about $1.4 million. Shares were down 0.43 percent from Saturday's close, when the Victory Day holiday schedule kept the local exchange open despite the weekend.

Traders and analysts Wednesday said investors were optimistic about Vladimir Putin's presidency after his inauguration Sunday, but that he had to take concrete steps before they would commit more money to Russia.

Eric Kraus, chief strategist at NIKoil, said the market's performance was disappointing, particularly after Putin as expected nominated Mikhail Kasyanov to be his prime minister.

But Kraus noted the market was outperforming other important emerging markets like Brazil and Hong Kong, both of which were suffering from expected U.S. rate hikes.

"Both of these are off by about 25 percent, in both cases because of fear of serious damage due to sharp U.S. rate hikes. Russia is relatively safe due to [its] exclusion from capital markets," Kraus said.

Traders Saturday noted that only a handful of investors were active ahead of the weekend's Victory Day celebrations and Putin's inauguration.

Saturday trade registered a volume of $4.19 million.