Russian Stocks, Ruble Edge Higher After Putin Win

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The FINANCIAL — Russian stocks and the ruble opened slightly higher on Monday, after preliminary results showed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin winning almost 64% of the popular vote.


The benchmark Micex stock index opened around 0.2% higher at 1725.81, while the ruble was up less than 0.1% versus the dollar at 29.26.

According to London Stock Exchange, Putin's large margin of victory "should be seen as the best-case scenario for the Russian market," Alfa Bank said in a note. The nearest challenger, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, finished with less than 20% of votes.

Analysts said markets will now focus on opposition reactions to Putin's win, which some say was tainted by vote rigging. A government-sanctioned opposition rally is planned in Moscow at 1500 GMT Monday.

"In light of the fallout from the State Duma elections in December, the markets are to be anxiously digesting the scale and mood of this gathering," VTB Capital analysts said. "As we can judge from the Russian blogosphere and key news portals, the critical commentary is less intense this time than it was on the morning of the State Duma elections."



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