7 May 2010 11:00

Russian stocks open lower on Friday; MICEX index down 2% in first minute

MOSCOW. May 7 (Interfax) - Russian stocks opened lower on Friday on negative externals.

The MICEX index was down 1.95% to 1,338.57 points as of 10:31 a.m. and the RTS index was down 2.52% to 1,413.95 points.

The decline on Friday morning follows the anomalous, 9.2% dive in the Dow Jones index on Thursday, which rattled investors already worried about the debt crisis in Greece. Asian markets also declined on Friday, although U.S. futures were stabilizing.

Prior to the opening of the Russian market on Friday, the head of the Federal Financial Markets Service (FFMS), Vladimir Milovidov, called on market participants not to overreact to the unusual decline in U.S. stocks on Thursday, which he said were technical in nature.

"We would like to caution participants in the Russian market, urge them to be attentive and cautious. We are not convinced that the decline in the American market was a reaction to objective causes. Under the circumstances it is necessary to very attentively monitor the information being received, analyze it, in order not to fall victim to some technical breakdown," Milovidov said on Friday morning.

Decliners on MICEX included VTB - down 3.5%, Gazprom - down 2.3%, Gazprom Neft - down 2.1%, MMC Norilsk Nickel - down 3%, Lukoil - down 2.8%, Polyus Gold - down 1.5%, Rosneft - down 2.6%, Rostelecom - down 2.8%, Sberbank Russia - down 4.1%, Surgutneftegas - down 1.9% and Tatneft - down 3%.