Russian rouble hits six-month low vs dollar, Yandex shares rally


Updates with rouble crash, adds detail

MOSCOW, Sept 23 (Reuters) - The rouble hit a six-month low against the dollar on Wednesday as stocks rose, helped by rallying Yandex shares after the internet giant said it was in talks to buy Russian online bank Tinkoff.

The rouble weakened recently amid fears of new sanctions against Russia stemming from the crisis in neighbouring Belarus and the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Moscow denies any wrongdoing.

At 1151 GMT, the rouble was 0.9% weaker against the dollar at 76.80RUBUTSTN=MCX, its lowest level since April 22.

Against the euro, the rouble fell 0.8% to 89.80EURRUBTN=MCX.

Navalny remained in the spotlight after being discharged from the Berlin hospital where he was treated after suspected poisoning with a Novichok nerve agent, an accusation Moscow denies.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Russian authorities were pleased Navalny was recovering and said he was welcome back in Russia just like any other citizen.

Western leaders say fresh sanctions against Russia should be considered over the incident, something that Moscow had admitted was affecting its borrowing plans.

On the local market, investors' attention was focused on two auctions of OFZ treasury bonds. The finance ministrysaw healthy demand of 142 billion roubles ($1.85 billion) for OFZ series maturing in 2028 and was set to hold a second auction later in the day.

Demand for those bonds is usually seen as a gauge of investor attitude towards Russian assets.

The currency is likely to stay closer to the lower boundary of the 75-80 range against the dollar in coming days, Promsvyazbank analysts said.

Brent crude oil LCOc1, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was steady at $41.75 a barrel.

The dollar-denominated RTS index .IRTS was up 1.5% to 1,211.2 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index .IMOEX was 2.4% higher at 2,954.8 points.

Shares in Yandex YNDX.MM, known as Russia's answer to Google, rose 8.4% to 5,310 roubles after the company said it was in talks with TCS to buy its online bank, Tinkoff.

TCS GDRs on the Moscow Exchange fell 1.6% to 2,130.0 roubles TCSGDR.MM.

For Russian equities guide see RU/EQUITY

For Russian treasury bonds see 0#RUTSY=MM

($1 = 76.8250 roubles)

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; editing by Kirsten Donovan, Larry King)

((andrey.ostroukh@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 1242;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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