Russian stocks fall as Ukraine trumps Wall Street, rouble steady

MOSCOW, March 5 Wed Mar 5, 2014 2:27am EST

MOSCOW, March 5 (Reuters) - Russian stocks fell on Wednesday morning, as investor nervousness about the Ukraine crisis outweighed the positive effect of Wall Street hitting new record highs.

Russian indexes edged up on opening but quickly reversed direction. At 0710 GMT the rouble-denominated MICEX index was down 1 percent to 1,343 points with the dollar-denominated RTS down 1.1 percent at 1,171 points.

The indexes had rebounded by 5-6 percent on Tuesday after crashing by 10-12 percent on Monday, illustrating how developments in the unfolding international crisis around Ukraine are driving the market.

On Wednesday the Russian market's downward move was in contrast to positive developments on other global markets.

"Asia is mostly up this morning, joining the global rebound, with the S&P reaching new highs. Though some may argue that Russian stocks seem relatively cheap, EM funds' clients certainly do not share this view for now, as they are facing redemptions," Alfa Bank analyst Natalia Orlova said in a morning note.

"Tension on the markets fell yesterday - American indexes have hit records," commented Andrei Vernikov, analyst at Zerich Capital, in a note. "But let's look the truth in the face: our market won't be a good object for investments this month."

He added that the Russian market "will not soar" at least until March 30, when pro-Russian authorities in the Ukrainian region of Crimea have announced that they intend to hold a referendum on the region's status.

The rouble was relatively steady, edging upwards on opening before edging down against the dollar and euro.

At 0710 GMT the rouble was down 0.1 percent at 36.11 against the dollar, and down 0.1 percent at 49.61 against the euro.

It was down 0.1 percent at 42.18 against the dollar-euro basket.

The central bank said on Wednesday it had spent the equivalent of $11.4 billion in foreign currency reserves on Monday to support the rouble.

"It is too early to talk about a stabilisation of the situation, as the tone of statements from American and European officials isn't weakening," commented ING economist Dmitry Polevoy.

"In these conditions the rouble could easily move further, especially in advance of the referendum date in Crimea and in the absence of obvious ways out of the crisis."

For rouble poll data see

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

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