It was a volatile but thinly traded week on the Russian stock market. For the most part, volumes were in single figures and a heat wave in Moscow did little to encourage life back into a market that already appears to be winding down for the summer.
The now familiar fears about the economic situation in Argentina, coupled with worries over low oil prices kept the Russian stock market depressed at the end of last week. The Argentinian parliament's adoption of an austerity package at the end of last week was welcome, but not sufficient to shore up emerging market sentiment.
But by the end of this week, share prices had risen enough to nudge the Russian Trading System (RTS) back up to 198.35 points, still short of the psychologically important 200 points barrier, but up marginally on last week's close. The main driver behind the rise was the leg-up given to oil stocks by the news that Opec is to cut output by 1mn b/d from 1 September, assuaging fears about falling prices.
For most of the week, trade in Russian shares was so meagre that the actions of the handful of active players on the market had a disproportionate effect on prices. Lukoil slumped to a three-year low of $10.12 on 24 July, largely on selling by foreign investors still concerned by the …