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MOSCOW, January 19. / TASS/. Russian stocks opened slightly higher on the Moscow Exchange on Monday amid a rebound in world oil prices, with the MICEX stock index rising above the psychologically important level of 1,600 points.
The ruble-denominated MICEX index grew by 0.55% in early trading on Monday to 1,600.19 points, its highest level since December 4, while the dollar-denominated RTS edged up by 0.78% to 775.77 points as of 10:35 a.m. Moscow time (07:35 GMT) on the back of the stronger ruble.
The Russian stock indexes demonstrated further gains in mid-afternoon trade in Moscow.
By 12:21 Moscow time (09:21 GMT), the MICEX index climbed by 1.46% to 1,614.68 points while the RTS index grew by 1.96% to 785.01 points.
The Russian stock market grew on the back of Friday’s recovery in world oil prices, shrugging off international rating agency Moody’s decision to downgrade Russia’s long-term government bond rating by one notch to Baa3, the lowest investment-grade level, from Baa2.
“Ratings will be a predominant issue for the Russian market this week,” Pallada Asset Management Chief Analyst Yevgeniya Kanakhina said.
“Russia’s sovereign rating is one notch above the junk level so far but S&P may cut the rating by one grade this week, which will cause a new wave of negative developments on stock trading floors,” she said.
Currently, only the relative cheapness of Russian stocks is lending support to the market amid the absence of any significant fundamental and situational improvements and the persistent risk of Russia’s rating downgrade and the resumption of fighting in east Ukraine, Promsvyazbank analysts said.
Meanwhile, experts are moderately positive about developments on the Russian financial market this week. S&P’s decision to delay a review of Russia’s sovereign rating until late January and a rebound of Brent oil prices to the range of $50-60 per barrel will allow the MICEX index to reach targets in the area of 1,630-1,660 points while the RTS index will be able to climb to 820-840 points on the back of an oil price upside trend and the ruble’s appreciation, experts said.