MOSCOW, July 29 (Reuters) - The rouble strengthened to a near one-month high on Thursday, heading towards the 73 mark versus the dollar, helped by higher oil prices and demand for riskier assets, which pushed Russian stocks to around two-week peaks.
At 0819 GMT, the rouble was 0.5% stronger against the dollar at 73.10 RUBUTSTN=MCX, its strongest mark since July 1. It gained 0.2% to trade at 86.80 versus the euro EURRUBTN=MCX.
The rouble is expected to move towards 73 versus the dollar on Thursday, provided demand for emerging market assets remains, said Promsvyazbank analysts in a note.
This week, the rouble saw support from inflows into Russian bonds.
Yields on 10-year benchmark OFZ treasury bonds, which move inversely to their prices, touched 6.89%, matching their lowest mark since mid-March, hit on Wednesday, and is well below the 2021 highs of 7.4% seen in early April RU10YT=RR.
Russia's finance ministry on Wednesday sold the largest amount of its OFZ bonds at weekly auctions since April 14, the day before the United States announced new sanctions against Russia.
Brent crude oil LCOc1, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was up 1% at $75.51 a barrel, pushing the country's stocks higher.
The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS rose 1.3% to 1,636.6 points, its best since July 14. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was 0.4% higher at 3,797.5 points, its strongest since July 16.
The Moscow Exchange MOEX.MM said it planned to increase the number of foreign securities on offer to 1,000 by the end of 2022. It also announced its intention to open stock trading at 0400 GMT, three hours earlier than it does currently, closer to the end of 2021.
Shares in Russia's largest lender Sberbank SBER.MM were up 0.3%, in line with the wider market, after it reported a record quarterly profit and cut provisions against bad loans.
Depositary receipts in internet firm Mail.ru Group MAILRq.L, MAILDR.MM fell 1.5% on the day after it posted a second-quarter revenue increase of 17.4%, boosted by a recovery in the online advertising market and demand for education technology.
For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY
For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; additional reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)
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