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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

RTS Hits New High of 247.24

The RTS index set a new 2001 closing high Thursday with No. 2 oil firm Yukos as the standard bearer.

Traders said they expected to see fresh growth in the new year. The RTS closed 1.81 percent higher at 247.240 on turnover of $26 million.

The Reuters index of the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange ended up 0.99 percent at 1,192.66 on trade of 3.1 billion rubles ($102 million).

"Long-term the major drivers look good -- the oil price is relatively low at the moment, the Russian stock market is still doing well and the United States has indicated things may be about to improve," said Oleg Martynenko, head of domestic trading at Alfa Bank.

He added that the market would be closely watching Friday's announcement of final third-quarter gross domestic product from the U.S. Commerce Department.

"Short-term, I don't think shares will go down significantly; people do not want sharp moves before the end of the year," Martynenko said.

Sam Barden, a trader at Renaissance Capital brokerage, said he was confident the RTS would hit 250 before the end of the year, and pointed out that Argentina's deepening economic crisis had failed to knock the market back.

"We're seeing all the characteristics of a bull market -- on bad news it consolidates and on good news it moves higher," he said.

Yukos accounted for the lion's share of volume, and by the end of trade had posted a 2.08 percent gain to $4.910.

"There has been a big short squeeze on Yukos today," Barden said.

Other liquid shares were regional utility Mosenergo, which gained 1.31 percent to $0.0388, and bellwether stock Unified Energy Systems, up 0.73 percent at $0.1528.

The market will also be waiting with bated breath for the results of OPEC's Dec. 28 meeting on oil cuts.

The cartel will decide if nonmember producers have offered enough cuts to trigger its own 1.5 million barrels per day cut.

"U.S. GDP figures and OPEC will be the main drivers in coming weeks," Martynenko said.