UPDATE 1-Russian shares, rouble trim gains on Syria concerns, profit-taking
(Recasts with change in direction in market, Syria, Putin comments)
MOSCOW, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Russian equities and the rouble erased gains late on Friday, as traders took profits and cited concerns about a military attack on Syria.
Earlier in the session, stocks and the rouble were supported by reduced expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve would decide this month to cut its monetary stimulus.
At 1424 the rouble had firmed 0.2 percent against the dollar at 33.36 and edged down 0.2 percent versus the euro at 43.90. The currency was flat against the currency basket the Russian central bank uses to gauge its interventions after firming as much as by 0.3 percent to below 38.00 - its strongest in two weeks.
The downward pullback by stocks and the rouble was on a report by Bloomberg and other agencies that Russia will assist Syria in case of an external attack, said Vladimir Miklashevsky, a strategist at Danske Bank.
Asked later on Friday whether Russia would help Syria if military action is taken against it, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would maintain its current support. He made no mention of defending the Middle Eastern nation or increasing military aid.
Traders also started to lock in profits, said Alexei Safronov, a trader at ING Bank Eurasia.
The rouble firmed earlier when a below-forecast U.S. jobs report trimmed bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve will decide this month to cut its monetary stimulus.
Any further gains were capped by uncertainty ahead of the Russia central bank meeting next week and the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the month.
The rouble-denominated MICEX was flat at 1423 after rising to four-month highs of above 1,440 basis points. Moscow's dollar-denominated RTS share index was up 0.3 percent to 1,344 points.
For rouble poll data see
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Russia in graphics: link.reuters.com/dun63s (Additional reporting by Vladimir Abramov and Zlata Garasyuta; Writing by Maya Dyakina; Editing by Megan Davies and Pravin Char)