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Ruble, Markets Shrug Off Bombings

Stock markets rose the most in two weeks and the ruble treaded water on Monday after two terrorist attacks in the Moscow metro killed at least 38 people, the biggest attack since 2004.

The MICEX Index put on 1.7 percent to finish up the day at 1,440.20, while the RTS Index gained 2.1 percent to close at 1,551.57.

The attacks, in which at least 38 people were killed and 60 wounded, were carried out by suicide bombers, who detonated explosives on trains in the Lubyanka and Park Kultury stations.

The attacks, however, are likely to have a limited impact on equities and currency markets, as those have become mostly immune to such events.

“Unfortunately, it’s not the first such attack in Russia, and the market has gotten used to such situations,” said Nikolai Podguzov, an analyst at Renaissance Capital.

Markets were driven up in part by a big rise in telecoms operators, after Kommersant reported that the government might buy shares at a premium from minority owners of seven regional telecommunications operators while they are in the process of merging with Rostelecom.

Uralsvyazinform, a fixed-line operator in the Urals mountains region, gained 19.3 percent to close at 1.16 rubles, while Volga-

telecom, the main operator in the Volga region, added 8.5 percent to finish the day at 105.5 rubles.

“The equity market has shrugged off the attacks because investors believe these to be one-off and not likely to have either economic or political consequences,” Chris Weafer, chief strategist at UralSib, said in a note Monday. “Currency markets are always more sensitive to such events and the ruble is lower against both the dollar and the euro.”

In the largest intraday decline since Jan. 25, the ruble slid 1.1 percent against the euro before regaining most of its lost ground and closing at 39.75, down 0.5 percent from its previous close. Against the dollar, the ruble lost 0.6 percent before rebounding to 29.5, which was 0.2 percent above its previous close.

The currency was relatively unchanged at 34.15 against the Central Bank’s currency basket.

The ruble will remain stable in the short term and will likely strengthen by the end of the second quarter this year when the degree to which Russia’s economy has recovered is clearer, said Mark Rubinstein, an analyst at Metropol.

Crude oil, Russia’s chief export, rose 2 percent to trade at $82 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday.

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