Ups And Downs For Russia's Yukos

Investors in Russian oil giant Yukos were cheered on Nov. 3, when imprisoned Chief Executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky resigned and news leaked that Simon Kukes, a well-known Russian-American oil man, would take his place. Yukos shares jumped 8% in a day. They had plunged 22% in the week after Khodorkovsky's arrest on Oct. 25 on tax evasion charges.

But Yukos' troubles aren't over. Ratings agency Moody's Investors Service put Yukos on negative outlook on Nov. 5, citing the uncertain future of Khodorkovsky's Yukos stake. He and other shareholders charged by lawmakers hold 42% of Yukos, worth about $13 billion. Prosecutors may yet confiscate some of those shares as compensation for the $1 billion they say that Khodorkovsky owes. The uncertainty may end only if Khodorkovsky backs away from all political activities, which are seen as a motivation for his arrest -- or sells his Yukos stake. The shares slipped 5% after the Moody's report.

Edited by Rose Brady

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