(Refiles to add dropped word in first paragraph)
MOSCOW Aug 22 Russian shares fell back on
Friday after a 10-day rally, as investors focused on tensions in
Ukraine after the foreign mnistry in Moscow warned against
disrupting an aid convoy that finally crossed the border after a
delay of several days.
Speculation about a speech later in the day by the head of
the Federal Reserve that could clarify signals on when U.S.
interest rates might rise added to the cautious mood.
At 0855 GMT, the dollar-denominated RTS index was
down 1.4 percent at 1,257 points, while its rouble-based peer
MICEX traded 1.3 percent lower at 1,442 points.
The rouble weakened against both the dollar and the euro
after strong gains in the previous session.
"The market is buying on rumours and selling on facts. The
rise was driven in part by events linked to the movement of the
Russian convoy," said Alexei Evsyutin, an equities salesman at
BCS brokerage in Moscow.
"Market players aren't buying for the long haul, they were
able to get a small profit and that's enough," he said, adding
that traders were nervous ahead of Fed chair Janet Yellen's
Russia's most liquid stocks were all trading lower by early
afternoon, with top bank Sberbank down 1.3 percent and
oil major Rosneft 1.9 percent lower.
Russian markets have been supported in recent days by hopes
for a de-escalation of the Ukraine conflict, which has prompted
the West to impose several rounds of sanctions on Moscow that
have spurred capital flight and dampened the outlook for
President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro
Poroshenko are due to meet on Aug. 26 in Minsk to discuss the
situation in eastern Ukraine, where fierce fighting is
continuing between pro-Russian rebels and government forces.
The market has taken news of the meeting as a sign that a
peace deal could be thrashed out.
But news that the Russian aid convoy had crossed the
Ukrainian border headed for the rebel stronghold of Luhansk and
a strong statement from the Foreign Ministry threatened to
ratchet up tensions once more.
"The Russian side has taken the decision to act," the
ministry said, warning against any attempts to disrupt the
"The Foreign Ministry statement, in my opinion, was the
straw that broke the camel's back. There needed to be a reason
for a correction, and it appeared. Of course the risk of an
unforeseen development of events has risen," said Alexander
Golovtsov, chief analyst at UralSib Asset Management.
The rouble was 0.32 percent weaker against the dollar at
36.13 and was 0.35 percent weaker at 48.01 versus
That left the currency 0.33 percent weaker at 41.47 against
the dollar-euro basket the central bank uses to gauge
the rouble's nominal exchange rate.
For rouble poll data see
For Russian equities guide see
For Russian treasury bonds see
Russia in graphics: link.reuters.com/dun63s
(Reporting by Zlata Garasyuta and Alexander Winning; Editing by
Jason Bush and John Stonestreet)