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Moscow Financial Markets Plummet on Ukraine Conflict

Russian stocks retreated 9 percent in the first couple of hours of trading on the Moscow Exchange on Monday, following this weekend's conflict with Ukraine, during which the Federation Council gave President Vladimir Putin permission to land troops on Ukraine soil.

The volume of trade has surged to 43 billion rubles ($1.2 billion) in the first half of Monday. On Friday, the previous trade day, 2.5 billion worth of shares changed hands.

Shares of some Russian blue chips fell even lower than the average. The biggest domestic company Gazprom's value declined 11.7 percent, while those of lenders Sberbank and VTB went down 11 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively.

Both the dollar-denominated Russian Stock Exchange and ruble-denominated MICEX index plummeted 8.9 percent after opening, falling to their lowest levels since September 2009 and June 2013, respectively.

Both indices rallied shortly after noon. By 1 p.m. the RSE had reached 1,144.9 points, regaining 3 percent against its opening levels, while MICEX rose 2.3 percent to 1328.33 points by 1:18 p.m.

The ruble fell to historically low levels in the morning, trading at 37 to the dollar and 50.7 to the euro and breaching the upper bounds of the corridor set by the Central Bank.

It subsequently strengthened slightly, reaching 36.43 to the dollar and 50.20 to the euro by 1:30 p.m.

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