Russian stocks likely to go down today - 17 March, 2003

According to specialists, a continuing drop in oil prices amid the decrease in the sharpness of relations between the USA and Iraq negatively influences Russian investors who are longing to sell oil stocks on fears of a retreat in profits in the oil sector. Prices of oil stocks are likely to ease back today. However, in the near future some positive information from the conciliatory commission of the Federation Council and the State Duma about RAO UES could appear; the bill on energy saving could be included on the agenda of a session next week, if the State Duma Council makes a corresponding decision tomorrow. A growth in Rostelecom securities should not be expected, because the bill on telecommunications might be considered on its second reading in the middle of May due to a great number of submitted amendments. On the whole analysts expect a drop in share prices today.