At 0325 ET (0725 GMT) the dollar-denominated RTS
<.IRTS> stock index was up nearly 1 pct at 1,239 points, while
the ruble-denominated MICEX <.MCX> index was up 1.1 percent at
The RTS rose 4.7 percent and MICEX 3.4 percent on Wednesday,
when Putin called on pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and
Luhansk regions to delay a referendum planned for May 11. The
rebels are due to make a decision about the vote on Thursday.
Analysts anticipated a continuation of Wednesday's positive
momentum on Thursday, reflecting investor optimism that the
Ukraine crisis will be resolved through diplomacy.
"Investors will continue to buy against the background of
de-escalation of the geopolitical conflict," Alexei Bystrov,
deputy general director at Rossiysky Capital, said in a morning
note. "Enthusiasm is also strengthened by positive trade data
from China, where exports and imports unexpectedly rose."
Strong economic data from China supports the price of Russia's
export commodities such as oil. Brent was steady at around $108
Analysts said Russian stocks were likely to ease back in the
afternoon before Friday's Victory Day public holiday, as
investors are averse to holding risky long positions over a long
The ruble weakened slightly on Thursday, after soaring some 1.5
percent on Wednesday following Putin's comments about Ukraine.
At 0725 GMT the ruble was 0.31 percent weaker at 35.04 against
the dollar and 0.38 percent weaker at 48.79 against the euro.
It was 0.35 percent weaker at 41.23 against the dollar-euro
For ruble poll data see
For Russian equities guide see
For Russian treasury bonds see
Russia in graphics: http://link.reuters.com/dun63s
(Reporting By Jason Bush, editing by Nigel Stephenson)
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