Market Buzz: Russian stocks flat awaiting news from US and EU

Analysts expect the Russian markets to react to much-awaited news from abroad on Thursday, particularly US macro-economic data and progress in the Greece economic rescue talks.

So all these should give us a bit of a clearer picture on what was going on in the US economy. Of course, the market will be sensitive [to the data]. And also we think that the solution to the Greek problem is to come out shortly, and probably this is the major factor which hinders markets from a rally,” says Deputy Chief Investment officer at Alfa Capital, Evgeny Kochemazov.

Analysts are eyeing European talks, where Greek government and top negotiators from banks and other private bondholders will be discussing the possibility of voluntary write-downs of Greek government debt.

On Wednesday, Russian stock indices closed sideways due to the rouble’s consolidation against the US dollar and Euro in the currency market. MICEX reached 1498.97 points, putting on 0.69%, and the RTS showed 1.27% growth, settling at 1534.14 points.

The main contribution to the Russian market growth came from the banking sector, where Sberbank stocks increased by an impressive 2.36%, exceeding investors’ expectations.

Reacting to the Federal Reserve announcement that interest rates would remain low through late 2014, US stocks gained on Wednesday.After losing 95.63 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 12,756.96, 81.21 points up (0.64%), which was the index’s highest close since last May. Also up were the Nasdaq (+1.14%) and S&P 500 (+0.87%).

Hong Kong stocks jumped today as investors returned from the Lunar New Year holiday. The Hang Seng index added 1.2%. Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese markets are remaining closed this week for holidays, while the markets in Sydney are shut for Australia Day.