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Friday, May 12, 2006

Bears All But Cracked Gazprom

May 12, 2006 Kommersant - Russia's stock market was swinging yesterday with the RTS benchmark having gained 1.2 percent, lost 3 percent and ultimately closed 0.9 percent down. RTS was overwhelmed by the stocks of Gazprom, which were fluctuating with the amplitude of 10 percent on rumors about the possible sale by E.ON, the biggest private holder of Russia's gas monopoly. The violent morning growth of the blue chips on RTS gave way to decline of between 5 percent and 8 percent in the middle of the trading. Still, the bears saw no triumph Thursday, as the RTS composite closed at 1,723.97 in the end, i.e. just 0.92 percent down vs. the previous trading. MICEX index shed 0.6 percent; Kommersant index lowered by 0.48 percent. It was Gazprom that led the market yesterday; its turnover on RTS exceeded $97 million. The morning growth of over 4 percent was followed by the tragic drop of more than 5 percent. Nevertheless, Gazprom managed to revive, having stopped at $12.25. The yesterday's performance of Gazprom is easy to explain. One of its biggest private holders, German E.ON (6.4 percent), was said to be planning to dispose of a part of its stake. The rumors were denied in the Moscow office of E.ON/Ruhrgas yesterday. In reality, the analysts say, the stocks of the gas monopoly that climbed over 50 percent from early April were launched on the market by institutional investors. "The sales were from hedge foundations, which had bought Gazprom before liberalization," said Kakha Kiknavelidze from UBS Securities.

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