RTS Index to Surpass All-Time High Record
Published: July 26, 2005 (Issue # 1090)
MOSCOW — The benchmark Russian Trading System, or RTS, index came within striking distance of an all-time high on Monday, the first day of extended trading hours on the bourse.
The dollar-denominated index rose 1.18 percent to close at 779.19 points on the back of an almost 4-percent gain by Sberbank. The all-time high of 781.55 was set on April 12, 2004.
The RTS index has risen by 10.3% since the start of this month, and traders say they have never seen a summer rally like this before.
Russian shares have soared after the conviction of Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky in late May, as investors seek to put the Yukos affair behind them.
Foreign money has again started chasing Russian shares as the perceived political risks ebbed and local companies raised record sums in initial public offerings abroad.
Although the RTS index, dominated by commodity producers like LUKoil, Norilsk Nickel and Surgutneftegaz, is not a perfect reflection of Russian stocks on the whole, it serves as a historical indicator of market performance.
In the month ending July 22, the Morgan Stanley Capital International Russia index, which is followed by foreign investors, has risen by 9.05 percent. In comparison, Morgan Stanley’s MSCI Emerging Markets index gained 5.48 percent.
The RTS’s rival, ruble-denominated MICEX index also posted gains of just over 1 percent to close at 702.46 on Monday.
The RTS expanded its hours this week, with the trading starting at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 6:45 p.m. to match those of MICEX. It was previously open between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
MICEX’s longer hours have attracted investors away from the RTS over the years. Its daily volume overshadows that of the RTS, exceeding it by 15 times on Friday.