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US stock markets reacted positively this week to rising consumer confidence and signs that the weak dollar may benefit markets. The Russian Trading System (RTS) also rose, but for different reasons. Globally, investors are more bullish about emerging markets, Russia in particular. Fixed income Russian government bonds have narrowed to 300 basis points above US government bonds, from 1200 a year ago. The falling yield from Russian government bonds is a general indicator of risk perceptions of Russia and has benefited Russian equities.
Bullish sentiment is tempered slightly by fears that strategic investors were responsible for much of the buying that drove the index up this week. The RTS ended the week up by 6.5pc at 471 points.
Gazprom surged early in the week on reports that the energy ministry planned to double domestic gas tariffs in 2004. Analysts say this is encouraging for the gas sector, but Xavier Grunauer of HSBC Securities said that Gazprom had almost reached its target price: "At the moment it's an 'Add'. There's still some upside, but it's probably less than 15pc." On 23 …