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Russian rouble firms towards 60 vs dollar, stocks mixed

·2 min read

MOSCOW, Aug 9 (Reuters) - The rouble firmed towards 60 against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, retaining support from capital controls and high prices for oil, Russia's key export, while stock indexes were mixed as the market lacked momentum.

At 0738 GMT, the rouble was 0.6% stronger against the dollar at 60.40, trading in a range between 59 and 62 for the sixth day in a row.

Against the euro, the rouble firmed 1.2% to 61.48 , well above the record low of 132.42 it hit days after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The rouble is the best-performing currency http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/GLOBAL-CURRENCIES-PERFORMANCE/0100301V041/index.html so far this year as it received a boost from the capital controls Russia imposed to shield its economy and the financial system from sweeping western sanctions.

However the rouble may gradually weaken in the near term given the lack of news triggers and the fact that the monthly tax payment period that usually boosts demand for the currency will only start later in August, analyst at Promsvyazbank said in a note.

On the stock market, the dollar-denominated RTS index rose 0.3% to 1,086.7 points, while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.3% lower at 2,083.1 points.

"An important date, 15 August, is approaching with cancelling of depositary receipts and risk of overhang from sellers. In this environment, buyers will take a wait-and-see approach and keep an eye on stocks in case they go lower," BCS Global Markets said.

Depositary receipts (GDRs) of Russian companies that were traded on foreign exchanges and held in Russian depositories will be automatically converted into shares on the Moscow Exchange from Aug. 15 in a bid to reduce foreigners' control over these companies amid Western sanctions.

Market activity could increase later this year when the Moscow Exchange opens the door for investors from so-called friendly countries. It was supposed to do so from Monday, but said late last week the ruling would only apply to the derivatives market, not the main stock market.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by David Holmes)