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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gazprom Shares Ride UES Up 8%

Stocks closed in the black Thursday after a heavy day's trade inspired by the previous day's news of a freeze on UES asset sales, although traders were unconvinced the run would last.

The benchmark RTS index closed 1.13 percent higher at 346.94 on high turnover of $29.6 million.

The Reuters index of the ruble traded MICEX exchange rose 2.11 percent to 1,351.98 by 6 p.m. on turnover of 4.1 billion rubles ($130 million).

The Reuters MICEX index of liquid Russian shares on several exchanges rose 2.69 percent to 873.68.

"The flow of money today was both local and foreign, but it is difficult to say if it was to cover UES shorts or if it is there for the long term," said Oleg Martynenko, head of domestic trade at Alfa Bank.

UES closed up 0.8 percent at $0.0887.

On Wednesday, UES CEO Anatoly Chubais said there would be a moratorium on sales of its assets until shareholders agreed on how to value them.

Gazprom ended 7.93 percent higher at 23.27 rubles.

"Gazprom had been oversold and it's a natural monopoly like UES, so it gained psychological support from UES," Martynenko said.

Louise Gibney at Renaissance Capital in London said Chubais's comments had inspired investors, but warned that UES could not move indefinitely higher until plans for its future were made clear.

"UES is capped, we need even more good news," she said. "Yukos is still the market's darling and there's a lot of good news about gas reform driving Gazprom."

No. 2 oil producer Yukos ended 1.63 percent higher at $9.36.