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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Foreign Buyer Aids Norilsk's 12% Rise

Russia's key index closed higher Monday, led by precious metals producer Norilsk Nickel, as speculators followed cautious Western buying in selected blue chips, traders said.

The RTS index closed 2.37 percent higher at 178.375 on volume of $20.09 million. The dollar-denominated Moscow Times Index of 50 leading shares closed up 2 percent at 146.73 on turnover of $18.8 million.

The day's biggest gainer was metals giant Norilsk Nickel, which closed up 12.24 percent at $11.00. Traders said a major Western buyer was scooping up loose Norilsk shares after the company announced it would begin swapping Norilsk shares for stock in its core production unit, Mining and Metals Co. Norilsk Nickel, on Friday.

Chief NIKoil trader Andrei Kukk said the news of the share swap meant the end of a complex restructuring was in sight, provoking buyers to move.

Kukk also pointed to isolated Western buying in LUKoil and Unified Energy Systems, which stimulated speculative demand.