24 Feb 2010 19:22

Fed chairman's speech soften Russian stock market drop

MOSCOW. Feb 24 (Interfax) - Russian stock slippage on Wednesday was held in check by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's announcement that low interest rates were staying as-is, and the RTS index managed to hold at above 1400 points, despite disappointing U.S. stats on January new home sales.

The RTS closed at 1401.48 points (down 1.52%), the MICEX at 1334.53 (down 1.42%), and prices for most benchmark stocks dipped 0.3%-4% on the day. RTS futures indicated a neutral-minded market.

Gazprom lost 0.5% on the MICEX on Wednesday, Lukoil dropped 1.5%, Norilsk Nickel was down 3.7%, Rosneft 2.5%, Gazprom Neft 2.6%, Surgutneftegas 0.8%, and Sberbank of Russia 4% (-3.8% on the RTS).

European stock indices also slipped on Wednesday, but rebounded into relatively neutral territory on Bernanke's announcement that interest rates would be kept low for the foreseeable future. Markets barely reacted to Germany's Q4 GDP stats, and the U.S. new home sales figures put a little pressure on the Russian market. And oil rebounded on U.S. reserves figures.