MOSCOW, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Russian assets opened little changed on Monday,
with market players taking few bets, fearing domestic macro data due this week
could signal an uncertain return on their investments.
At 0715 GMT, both the dollar-denominated RTS index and the
rouble-traded MICEX were up 0.1 percent, at 1,578.26 points and 1,509.92
Russia's Federal Statistics Service is due to publish data on investment,
retail sales and other areas this week, following on from a shock fall in
industrial output in January, announced on Friday.
'Usually macro data is ignored by investors, but this week's update is
expected to bring more of a market reaction,' the chief strategist at Sberbank
Investment Research in Moscow, Chris Weafer, wrote in a morning note.
'After a poor last quarter in terms of economic growth, there is growing
concern about slowing domestic activity,' he added.
Gross domestic product grew by 2.4 percent in December, only slightly higher
than the 2.1 percent seen in November.
Shares of gold and silver producers extended their losses from last week as
the price of gold hit its lowest point since the summer of 2012 at around
$1,614 an ounce.
Speculation has also focused on a proposed ownership shake-up at the
country's largest precious metal miner Polyus, which could open the
door to a tie-up with Polymetal, Russia's largest silver miner .
Polyus Gold was down 0.9 percent in Moscow and Polymetal
had yet to trade in London.
The Russian currency was unchanged against the dollar at 30.14 and was up 0.2 percent versus the euro at 40.20.
It firmed 0.1 percent to hit 34.66 against the dollar-euro basket the
central bank uses to guide the rouble's nominal exchange rate.
'We're expecting a calm session today because of the U.S. holiday, with
little changes from Friday,' said Igor Akinshin from Alfa Bank in Moscow.
U.S. markets were closed on Monday to mark Presidents' Day.
'It's unlikely that the dual currency basket would trade outside the
34.60-34.70 roubles range,' he added.
Later in the week, monthly tax payments that force exporters to convert
their foreign currency revenues into roubles are likely to give the Russian
currency a boost.
Russian Latest Net Change % Change % Change
Markets on year
MICEX 1509.92 1.75 0.12 7.68
RTS 1578.26 1.00 0.06 14.21
London ADRs 901.85 -9.44 -1.04 2.08
Emrg Mkt Indx 1064.97 -1.55 -0.15 0.93
MSCI Russia 831.50 1.07 0.13 2.97
Sberbank 105.44 0.36 0.34 13.45
VTB 0.06 0.00 0.82 5.34
Gazprom 134.33 0.34 0.25 -6.52
LUKOIL 1998.40 -1.20 -0.06 -0.09
Rostelecom 118.21 0.31 0.26 -1.82
Dollar/Rouble 30.14 0.00 0.00 -0.89
Euro/Rouble 40.20 -0.07 -0.18 -0.15
Rouble basket 34.66 -0.03 -0.09 -0.51
DEBT Bid Ask %Rtn Coupon
Russia 10-yr 6.60 6.58 0.00 7.60
MONEY MARKET Bid Ask Close
Overnight 5.91 5.96 5.00
All data taken from Reuters at 0715 GMT
(Additional reporting by Vladimir Abramov; Writing by Lidia Kelly)
Keywords: RUSSIA MARKETS/
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