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Russia Stocks Reach 2-Month High as Medvedev Lifts Trade Limits

Russian stocks climbed to a two-month high after President Dmitry Medvedev lifted curbs on domestic-share trading in Moscow and abroad.

The 30-stock Micex Index rose 1.9 percent to 1,698.10 by the 6:45 p.m. close in Moscow, the highest level since April 29. The gauge jumped 3.9 percent this week, the biggest one-week jump since Dec. 5. OAO Mobile TeleSystems, a mobile-phone operator, jumped 4.9 percent, OAO Novatek, a natural-gas producer, gained 6.3 percent and oil producer OAO Tatneft added 2.5 percent.

Medvedev ordered Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to lift restrictions on listings of Russian securities abroad by Sept. 1, the Kremlin said in an e-mailed statement today. He also instructed the government to allow foreigners to open accounts allowing them to trade directly in Russia, rather than having to go through an intermediary, according to the statement.

“This is a major breakthrough,” Luis Saenz, director of international sales at Otkritie Securities Ltd. brokerage in London, said by e-mail. “If this takes place, all discounts on local shares should disappear.”

The Russian government currently stipulates that GDRs should account for no more than 25 percent of share capital, which limits the issue of GDRs.

Lifting these restrictions should boost liquidity on both global depositary receipts and local shares of Russian companies, Saenz said.

“The headline sounds positive,” but more time is needed to understand the “real event,” Saenz said.

The dollar-denominated RTS Index added 1.6 percent to 1,937.57 today.

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