Small rise in share prices expected in Russia

The oil prices, which grew by over 3%, were the main factor influencingRussian share prices during the trade on Friday, banking experts think. TheRTS index increased by 1.12% to the level of 335.47 points on that day. Thegrowth was led by prices of shares in oil companies: the price of Tatneftshares was up 4.35%, and the corresponding figure for Sibneft was 3.8%. RAOUES shares blocked further growth in the stock index, since their pricedecreased by 2.73%. Deals on these shares made up the largest proportion(56%) of the RTS trade volume. A decline in investment recommendations bylarge Western investment banks, information about a possible resignation ofRAO UES head Anatoly Chubais, and obvious delays in the process ofreforming the monopoly facilitate the continuing fall in prices of theenergy company's shares. Some good macroeconomic data on the labor marketand the fulfillment of the quarterly forecast for Intel's business resultshas facilitated a rise in share prices in the US, which the Russian markethas already made use of during the afternoon trade. The experts believethat a positive news background has emerged for prices of Russiancompanies' shares today: a high level of oil prices, having a positiveeffect on the country's macroeconomic stability, and some signs ofimprovement of the state of the US economy. As for the technical analysisdata, having bounced from the 328-point level, the RTS index has againapproached the upper limit of the trading range, which has been limitingthe downward trend since May. Therefore, a small rise in prices and anattempt to break the level of 343-345 points are likely during the tradetoday, the experts reckon. The trade may continue around these levelsduring the whole week. Only the beginning of a US military operation inIraq, which may cause a decline in oil prices, may halt the upward movementof the stock index. This is due to the fact that the expectations of thebeginning of military operations have already been take! n into account onthe oil market, and if the speculative factor dealing with their beginningis lost, the market may shift to fixing oil prices on the basis of theratio between the demand and supply, which, in the OPEC's opinion, is quitebalanced as of now..