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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 August, 2005, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Russian stocks climb to record
Russian stocks traders
Traders had their confidence knocked by the Yukos affair
Russia's benchmark stock index has risen to a record, driven by record oil prices and optimism about earnings.

Moscow's RTS had slumped as the Kremlin tussled with and eventually broke up one of its biggest members, oil and gas firm Yukos.

Investors big and small lost money, Russia's reputation was dented and share prices suffered as a result.

But the drop made stock valuations look more attractive, and the potential for profits now seems to outweigh concerns.

The RTS index climbed as high as 789.48 points - an all-time record - before falling back to trade at 788.36, 0.8% higher than Monday's close.

That takes the RTS's gains to more than 28% this year.

'Peak of Mount Everest'

Most of Russia's biggest companies get their wealth from the nation's natural resources and a surge in global demand has been driving earnings growth.

At the same time, the extra revenues have been helping boost Russia's budget and the government is making strides in its attempts to increase tax collection.

Graph showing RTS performance since 2001
The local buyers who are behind this latest rally are preparing to sell
Roland Nash, Renaissance Capital

The subsequent improvement in Russia's economy is filtering down into the corporate sector, and helping boost consumer and business spending and investor confidence.

Also fuelling positive sentiment have been a number of large and well-received stock offerings.

However, analysts are warning that the gains have come quickly and are unlikely to last very much longer without some more positive economic or corporate news to underpin the market.

"The strength of the bulls is clearly fading, even if they manage to plant their flag on the peak of Mount Everest," said Sergei Suverov, a dealer at Gazprombank.

"The local buyers who are behind this latest rally are preparing to sell," said Roland Nash, an analyst at Renaissance Capital.

Yukos trial raises new questions
01 Jun 05 |  Business
Conoco interested in Yukos plant
29 Jun 05 |  Business
Country profile: Russia
20 Jul 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Russia
20 Jul 05 |  Country profiles

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