MOSCOW, July 10 Russia's rouble extended gains
on Wednesday, buoyed by oil prices and central bank
intervention, but the currency was seen as vulnerable to signs
the U.S. Federal Reserve is moving closer to phasing out asset
Russian stocks edged lower, failing to benefit from a J.P.
Morgan upgrade as investors awaited with caution minutes from
the Federal Reserve's June meeting due later in the day.
The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.3
percent at 1,279 points, while its rouble-traded MICEX peer
traded down 0.7 percent to 1,336 points.
J.P. Morgan raised Russia's stock market to neutral from
underweight, expecting the index to outperform other emerging
markets if oil prices return to the $110-$120 per barrel range.
"Higher oil in addition to helping oil stocks also reduces
fiscal stress and supports the rouble," J.P. Morgan strategists
said in a note, citing Sberbank, Lukoil,
Magnit, Yandex, MTS and Eurasia
Drilling as top picks.
At 1236 GMT, the rouble was 0.3 percent stronger at 32.90
against the dollar, as oil, Russia's main export,
rose above $108 per barrel. It was 0.1 percent higher at
42.16 versus the euro and 0.2 percent stronger
versus its dollar-euro basket at 37.06.
Exporters scaled up purchases of the rouble ahead of the
start of monthly tax payments, for which they convert hard
The rouble is also being supported by central bank
interventions to stem the currency's slide. At current levels of
the dollar-euro basket, the bank is selling around $200 million
per day, traders say.