Market Buzz: Mild gains ahead of holidays

Moscow World Trade Center (RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko)
Russian indices are expected to extend their moderate gains as Western stocks remain closed for the holidays.

­“Currently the backdrop is neutral as European and overseas stocks are closed for the holidays,” said Vasiliy Lyakh from Moscow Fund Center. ”If the positive trend remains Russian stocks will open in the black.”

On Monday, Russian stocks opened in the black, but later the market turned flat. The MICEX grew 0.73% and the RTS gained 1.37%. Among the improvers were Pharmacy 36.6 (+3.17%), Severstal (+3.10), preferred shares of Transneft (+2.27%) and preferred shares of Sberbank (+2.13%). The energy sector also showed a positive trend as FSK EES added 1.22%, OGK-3 was up 3.31% and TGK-13 gained 3.26%.

Analysts expect American stock markets to try to extend the positive trend that has become known as “the Santa Claus rally” ahead of the holidays, after Congress approved a tax-cut extension. Wall Street is closed on Monday. A report of initial claims for unemployment benefits will be published on Thursday.

Asian markets continued their fall in thin trade Tuesday. South Korea’s Kospi gave up early gains to fall 2.3% at one point, but then recovered to trade down 0.7% by midday. China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.7% after moderate gains, while Taiwan’s Taiex fell 0.6% after changing direction more than once. The Nikkei Stock dropped 0.5% in morning trade. Stock markets in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong remained closed for the holidays.