Russian stocks slide off recent highs as ruble approaches 60 against dollar

Russian stocks slide off recent highs as ruble approaches 60 against dollar

The letters MOEX on the Moscow Exchange against the backdrop of the Kremlin and the Four Seasons Hotel in Moscow, Russia, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Sergey Karpukhin

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  • This content was created in Russia, where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine.

MOSCOW, Sep 1 (Reuters) – Russian stocks tumbled after a surge in Gazprom shares in the previous session to their highest in months after the gas giant’s decision to recommend an interim dividend, while the ruble hovered around 60 against the dollar and the euro.

Shares in Gazprom (GASP.MM) jumped about 25% on Wednesday after the board recommended 51.03 rubles ($0.8484) per common share in dividends for the first half of 2022, bringing the total dividend payout to about $20 billion. read more

Its shares fell 0.3% on Thursday as of 07:24 GMT.

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“Gazprom’s dividend payment could be a boost to the Russian stock market,” said Dmitry Skryabin, Alfa Capital’s portfolio manager. “Gazprom’s example can stimulate the payment of dividends by other companies that have not yet paid, but have the financial capacity to do so.”

RTS dollar index (.IRTS)which rose to almost a two-month high in the previous session, fell 0.4% to 1253.5 points.

Russian index of Moscow Exchange in rubles (.IMOEX) was 0.3% lower at 2,394.0, close to a three-month high of 2,423.12 reached on Wednesday.

The ruble was approaching 60 against the dollar and the euro. It was 0.1% stronger against the dollar at 60.19 and gained 0.3% to trade at 60.28 against the euro.

The ruble spent most of August near 60 per dollar. Volatility eased after hitting a record low of $121.53 per dollar in Moscow trading in March, shortly after Russia sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine. It then rose to its strongest level in seven years at 50.01 per dollar in June.

So far this year the ruble has been the most efficient currency in the world, backed by emergency capital controls imposed by the central bank in an attempt to stem the massive sell-off. This helped to avoid the economic crisis that many predicted. read more

The Moscow Exchange on Thursday said it would resume evening trading on the stock market until 20:50 GMT and morning trading on the foreign exchange market from 03:50 GMT from September 12.

The country’s largest stock exchange is seeking to gradually restore a sense of normalcy to Russian financial markets after major disruptions in February and March, when Western sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine came into effect. read more

(1 dollar = 60.1500 rubles)

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Reporting by Alexander Murrow; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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